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Nov 18, 2009 07:06 PM

where do i find NYC cheesecake that IS NOT lemon-flavored?

i'm from los angeles and back home, "new york cheesecake" meant creamy, delicious, perhaps a bit tart, and above all, full of vanilla. it was what i imagined cream cheese-flavored ice cream to be if such a thing existed, except shaped like a cake finished with a crust.

now, every time i get the real thing in nyc, it seems to be lemon-flavored - yes, even when i ask for "plain." sometimes it even comes with a yellow, gelatinous layer on the top similar to key lime pie. what the hell!

could someone explain what the deal with this is, and moreover, direct me to places whose cheesecake lacks that nasty citrus? i'm partial to manhattan, but if you know of places in the other boroughs, i'd appreciate those as well. thanks!

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  1. Some people are big fans of S&S Cheesecake, 222 W 238th St, Bronx, 718-549-3888. Note: it's not a store, just a factory; ring the bell, go in, pay cash. Unfortunately, I've only been there the once, some months ago, and didn't have your vanilla versus citrus question in mind at the time. Off the top of my head, I recall the plain cheesecake as being just that, in terms of not having any special flavoring, like lemon, but I can't speak to it being especially vanilla-y, either. Now, these guys sell mostly to the trade and their stock of cakes with various toppings to walk-ins is correspondingly limited. When I got there on a Thursday morning at about 10AM, they were down to plain and pineapple as the options. Perhaps someone with more extensive experience with their products will chime in.

    3 Replies
    1. re: rpk

      I am one of the people who thinks S&S Cheesecake is the best in the city. But if you can't get to the Bronx, you can usually find it at Zabar's. They carry some. We regularly get the small-sized one there.

      I've never heard of ny cheesecake being "tart". It's usually very rich, creamy, and cheese-y tasting. I've never experienced a lemon flavored cheesecake. Well, except when getting Italian cheesecake.

      1. re: LNG212

        I would agree that S&S is the best cheesecake in NYC. I believe it is also sold at Zabars and they stock some of the restaurants in Manhattan only it isnt advertised.

        The problem here is we don't know where the original poster has been getting cheesecake. The simple fact of the matter could be that real NY Cheesecakes in NYC could be tangier than those that are replicated in LA. This would be akin to coming to NY and asking why NYC pizza doesn't taste like the NYC style at pizza hut.

        1. re: MVNYC

          I was told that the amazing cheesecake I've had at The Palm Too was from S&S, and that was the best NY-style cream cheese cake I've ever had.

    2. Maybe I just don't taste the lemon tones, but Junior' Cheesecake tastes like NY cheesecake to me (having grown up on "cream cheese" cake, and that's readily available at their outpost in Grand Central Station - downstairs. Is it the best in town? Probably not, but it's good when you need a fix.

      1. Where are getting this cheesecake? Neither Junior's nor Carnegie Deli have this "gelatinous" layer you describe. Try a piece of plain at either of those places and post back.

        1. ive never seen anything with a gelatinous layer on it (to be honest, it makes me physically ill just thinking about it). Junior's does not have that and their cheesecakes are good.

          1. Cafe Europa sells a cheese cake by the slice that has vanilla and no lemon