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Best places for cheap, unique and good desserts

b
burgeoningfoodie Aug 31, 2010 07:37 AM

I'm coming to the city again and this time I'm determined to sample treats while I'm there. Ideally I'd like to get to a great Italian or French bakery. I have heard of Viniero's, Ferrara's and Rocco's. Are any of these worth going to? Is one better than another? Are they all overated and should I had somewhere else?

Also, what are some unique but tasty and cheap options. I've read about the belgian waffle cart and I know about Big Gay Ice Cream though I'm not planning my trip around the mobile carts. If they happen to be on the way thats great. I know about the OO Gelato at Otto, but I'm not sure I'd go there just for the dessert either. Also, the Chickalicious just seems overpriced. I may hit economy candy just to get some hard to find candies and definitely make my way to Kees (Klees?) and Levain. I'm just all over the place. Help me out please.

  1. daffyduck Aug 31, 2010 10:23 AM

    I think rocco's > veniero's > ferrara. But these places aren't really unique. Chickalicious has a take out store across the street that is cheaper than their restaurant, I believe it's called Chickalicious Dessert Club and the restaurant is called Chickalicious Dessert Club. For unique desserts with an asian twist i like Spot and Kyotofu. for cheaper desserts i like 3 tarts, Led zeppole, and some stores in Chelsea market. A lot of the stores at Chelsea market sell things for a discounted price when it comes close to closing time for the mall. You can also try bakeries in Chinatown for bubble tea, pork buns (don't let the name deceive you, those things are sweet!), and egg custards. Their use to be a place called egg custard king but it's been replaced by a new bakery, I don't know if they have unique flavors of egg custards like the previous bakery.
    Here are some more options but they will most likely be pricier.
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/699649

    -----
    Kyotofu
    144 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011

    5 Replies
    1. re: daffyduck
      b
      burgeoningfoodie Aug 31, 2010 11:44 AM

      Can you clarify the Chickalicious part of your comment. Thanks. I realize the Italian pastries aren't unique to NY but from NC they are at least in quality and quantity.

      1. re: burgeoningfoodie
        Miss Needle Aug 31, 2010 12:02 PM

        I think what daffy meant to say is that the restaurant is Chikalicious Dessert Bar and the take out store is Chikalicious Dessert Club. Club is definitely less expensive and a wonderful place to get some very yummy treats.

        1. re: Miss Needle
          b
          burgeoningfoodie Aug 31, 2010 12:14 PM

          I think I also heard that WD-50 does a dessert tasting menu. I'm not sure where we will be spending the majority of our time. I know I want to walk the highline and visit the ATM museum. She wants to explore a bit more of Central Park though she is from LI.

          -----
          WD-50
          50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

          1. re: burgeoningfoodie
            daffyduck Aug 31, 2010 12:51 PM

            yeah, i haven't tried wd50 but i've heard good things about their desserts. it's expensive though if you consider Chikalicious expensive.
            http://www.wd-50.com/menu2.php

          2. re: Miss Needle
            daffyduck Aug 31, 2010 03:46 PM

            yeah, sorry! just realized it now. i meant dessert bar (restaurant) and dessert club (cheaper option)

      2. o
        ossauiraty Aug 31, 2010 01:55 PM

        Veniero's has very good Italian pastries in Manhattan (especially the Italian cheesecake)...although, better is at Villabate in Brooklyn (worth the trip). For French desserts I like Balthazar bakery, and for American desserts I like Amy's Bread, Billy's, and Two Little Red Hens.

        -----
        Two Little Red Hens
        1652 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

        Amy's Bread
        250 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

        Veniero's
        342 E 11th St, New York, NY 10003

        1. f
          fm1963 Aug 31, 2010 02:44 PM

          If you'll be in the Upper East Side, check out Lady M as well, for the mille crepe cakes, and Cafe Sabarsky (or Cafe Fledermaus) at the Neue Galerie for Viennese pastries.

          -----
          Cafe Sabarsky
          1048 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028

          2 Replies
          1. re: fm1963
            c
            cubeoccupant Aug 31, 2010 11:52 PM

            Would Minamoto Kitchoan be bit too adventurous?

            -----
            Minamoto Kitchoan
            608 5th Ave, New York, NY 10020

            1. re: fm1963
              m
              mahler5 Sep 7, 2010 06:41 AM

              I second fm1963's suggestions.

            2. JungMann Sep 1, 2010 06:11 AM

              I don't think there's anything unique or really all that good about Veniero's, Ferrara's or Rocco's. They are tourist traps which prey on people who don't know any better and their counterparts in the suburbs who trek into the city for a taste of what they think is "the old neighborhood" (which was so bad that that they left for the suburbs in the first place!). You can expect oily tasting cookies, stale cannoli and the like.

              If you want unique, but still with an Italian spin, try visiting Led Zeppole. Other thoughts would be Doughnut Plant, Kees or Momofuku Milk Bar. There are also plenty of delicious Asian sweets that are hard to find in NC.

              -----
              Doughnut Plant
              379 Grand St, New York, NY 10002

              Veniero's
              342 E 11th St, New York, NY 10003

              Momofuku Milk Bar
              251 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

              Led Zeppole
              328 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003

              20 Replies
              1. re: JungMann
                b
                burgeoningfoodie Sep 1, 2010 07:22 AM

                So what would you recommend as a solid Italian bakery? We dont' plan to go to Brooklyn. We do plan on hitting up Chelsea Market (which has an Amy's Bread location), the Highline which I believe Del Posto is near and various areas of Central Park. I know about Led Zeppole and Doughnut Plant's owner (Israel) is from Raleigh. We will be stopping at Russ and Daughters whether I make it to Katz after that I don't know.. but those are not desserts.. I know. Yeah probably won't do WD-50. We will hopefully have some goodies at Le Bernardin.

                -----
                WD-50
                50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

                Del Posto
                85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                Doughnut Plant
                379 Grand St, New York, NY 10002

                Le Bernardin
                155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

                Amy's Bread
                250 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                Led Zeppole
                328 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003

                1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                  JungMann Sep 1, 2010 08:33 AM

                  Pasticceria Bruno is pretty good for what it is if you find yourself in the Village. I like their mini-cakes and the sfogliatelle are not bad. Other than that, I am not an expert on Italian pastries - I can taste what they lack in quality, but I don't adequately appreciate how they make up for that in nostalgia. Ceci-Cela is reasonably near Katz's (along with Bespoke Chocolates) for French options. I wouldn't go out of my way for Chelsea Market desserts.

                  -----
                  Ceci-Cela
                  55 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                  Bespoke Chocolates
                  6 Extra Pl, New York, NY 10003

                  1. re: JungMann
                    daffyduck Sep 1, 2010 10:44 AM

                    i also like pasticceria bruno. My favorite thing there is actually their gelato. I prefer it over otto's whose gelato is much thicker like ice cream, but I like my gelato to taste light. Doughnut plant and milk bar are unique but aren't very cheap. So if you get something at either place make sure it's highly recommended especially with milk bar because it's very hit or miss. Milk bar use to sell one day old cookies for $1, i dont know if they still do that.
                    My favorite doughnut plant items have been creme brulee, coconut custard, tres leches, peanut butter\jelly and carrot cake.
                    For milk bar I still haven't had anything I really liked. I think their cookies and banana cake are alright. If you dont mind really rich things you might like their crack pie.

                    1. re: daffyduck
                      p
                      Pan Sep 3, 2010 11:53 PM

                      Based on admittedly limited experience, I dissent on Bruno and their gelato, which I've found just OK and nowhere near comparable to Il Laboratorio di Gelato, whose gelato is so much tastier and more interesting, but which unfortunately closes early (7 PM, I think? or maybe even 6). I also think that Rocco's pastries are better than Bruno's, but neither, nor any other place in Manhattan, is comparable to the really good pasticcerie in Brooklyn in any way.

                      1. re: Pan
                        daffyduck Sep 4, 2010 06:30 AM

                        that's strange out of all the gelato places il laboratorio is my my least favorite. i've only gone twice but I've tried all the flavors they had on each visit and the only one i really liked was fig. something about their gelato is off to me, i remember it being too firm or too cold. im not sure how to explain it but i felt like it blunted the flavors and taste.

                        1. re: daffyduck
                          Miss Needle Sep 4, 2010 09:47 AM

                          Exactly! Their stuff is too cold so the flavors don't really bloom. I suppose I could be more patient and wait for it to soften up.

                          I've also liked the gelato at Eataly -- though I think they need to work out some service kinks at this stage.

                          -----
                          Eataly
                          200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                          1. re: daffyduck
                            p
                            Pan Sep 4, 2010 09:22 PM

                            Which places do you like best?

                            1. re: Pan
                              daffyduck Sep 4, 2010 11:11 PM

                              It depends on the flavor of gelato.
                              my personal 5 favorites in NYC are
                              Martha's Country Bakery (forest hills)-tiramisu gelato
                              Bruno Bakery-cannolo gelato
                              Screme-Peanut butter gelato
                              Grom-Bacio
                              L'arte del gelato-Hazelnut
                              In general for gelato places I think I like L'arte del gelato, Screme (their gelato melts fast though), Grom, Il Laboratorio, then Ciao Bella in that order. But it depends greatly on the flavors. For example the Bacio flavor from Grom beats everything I've tried at L'arte del gelato but pretty much every other flavor from L'arte I found to be better than Grom.

                              For restaurants I like Maialino, Marea, then Otto in that order.

                              -----
                              Grom
                              233 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                              Marea
                              240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                              Maialino
                              2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

                              Screme
                              234 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036

                              1. re: daffyduck
                                p
                                Pan Sep 4, 2010 11:43 PM

                                Thanks a lot for that info that I can use! I'll try to remember to try the cannolo gelato at Bruno's, which is not a usual flavor for me, though one I like (my routine in Italy was to get cioccolato e nocciola, and if I got three flavors, probably most commonly crema or fior di latte). I've never heard of Screme, but I do have occasion to be in that neighborhood from time to time. I also see that there is another branch near 70th and Broadway (link below), also a neighborhood I have reasons to be in. Any other flavors you like there?

                                -----
                                Screme
                                2030 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

                                1. re: Pan
                                  daffyduck Sep 5, 2010 12:38 AM

                                  i've only been twice but ive tried every flavor each time. i believe they rotate flavors often because my 2nd time around they had different flavors.
                                  i remember being a big fan of a brownie one, a banana one, and a whiskey flavor. but they're really really generous with samples i remember as soon as i walked in they were already offering samples lol. there's only 8 or so flavors each day. they won't mind if you try them all as long as you get something. remember to eat it fast though from my experiences it melts alot quicker than most gelatos.

                                  1. re: daffyduck
                                    p
                                    Pan Sep 5, 2010 01:34 AM

                                    You got it. Thanks again.

                                  2. re: Pan
                                    n
                                    nativeNYer Sep 5, 2010 10:32 AM

                                    Hi Pan, Screme is amazing. Out of all the gelato places I've tried in Manhattan (and I've tried nearly all the major ones), Screme comes closest to the amazing gelato I've tasted in Italy, and there really aren't any close contenders IMO. All of my friends love Screme. The staff members will offer an unlimited number of free tastings from the moment you walk in. It's way too expensive but it is so good. My friends love the nutella but any flavor has been great. Although they rotate the flavors everyday as daffyduck mentioned, they told me they try to offer some form of nutella on a daily basis. The texture and taste are amazing and cannot be compared to anything local.

                                    -----
                                    Screme
                                    234 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036

                                    1. re: nativeNYer
                                      p
                                      Pan Sep 5, 2010 12:37 PM

                                      I just checked the menupages.com menu for their 42 St. location:

                                      Small (1 scoop) $5 / Medium (2 scoops) $7 / Large (3 scoops) $9.

                                      Definitely not cheap at all! But if it's really like the excellent gelato I used to have in Siena, it's a lot less expensive than round-trip airfare, hotel, etc.

                                      1. re: Pan
                                        daffyduck Sep 5, 2010 01:02 PM

                                        their scoops are pretty generous but yeah it is still expensive.

                                        1. re: Pan
                                          n
                                          nativeNYer Sep 5, 2010 05:57 PM

                                          The prices make me shudder. Their smallest take-out (enclosed) container is $17 which is just barely enough for 3-4 very light eaters. I am curious to hear what you think when you try it. I just read they are opening a third location on Amsterdam and W94th. They have the most unusual flavors in Nov and Dec for the holidays.

                                          1. re: nativeNYer
                                            p
                                            Pan Sep 5, 2010 06:50 PM

                                            Well, considering that I have avoided Grom ever since it opened, due to the prices, it may be a while before I check out Screme, too.

                                        2. re: nativeNYer
                                          Miss Needle Sep 6, 2010 10:33 PM

                                          Yes, I think Screme is really good and has been underrated on CH compared to places like Grom, L'Arte and Il Lab. Their service is also top-notch.

                                          -----
                                          Grom
                                          233 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                                          Screme
                                          234 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036

                        2. re: JungMann
                          k
                          kathryn Sep 1, 2010 08:04 AM

                          Veniero's can be hit or miss dependent on what you get. Not a fan of Ferrara. I like Rocco's a lot because they will fill the cannoli to order, not that many places do that. I haven't ever tried anything else there, I only ever get the cannoli.

                          -----
                          Veniero's
                          342 E 11th St, New York, NY 10003

                          1. re: kathryn
                            u
                            uwsgrazer Sep 1, 2010 11:37 AM

                            Bruno will fill the cannoli, at the time of order. They only offer one filling. Not sure if you're suggesting Rocco's offers more than one filling, but I like that Bruno prepares each cannoli fresh.

                          2. re: JungMann
                            m
                            mahler5 Sep 7, 2010 06:43 AM

                            I second JungMann's comments as well.

                          3. f
                            firni Sep 1, 2010 11:14 AM

                            For Italian and French -oriented desserts:

                            - Il Laborotorio del Gelato and L'Arte de Gelato (multiple locations) do interesting ice cream flavors

                            - Otto, the new bomboloni place on the UWS, and Locanda Verde offer great Italian desserts. The sundaes at Otto are well-constructed and have interesting combinations.

                            - If you are willing to go to Brooklyn, Saltie (baked goods) Four and Twenty Blackbirds (a pie shop), and Sweet Melissa (ice cream/baked goods) offer interesting desserts albeit American ones.

                            - Dean and Deluca has selection of imported Italian and French chocolates and candies, as well as a great dessert case. While it is expensive and the products could be found elsewhere cheaper, it does make for convenient one-stop shopping.

                            - It might be worth it to check out the dessert menus to Del Posto, one of the Daniel Boulud restaurants, or another high profile restaurant, and see if you can sit at the bar for dessert only - I'm pretty sure that it's possible at some of these places to do that, and it cuts the expense (and saves room in your stomach!).

                            -Quick stops: Dessert Truck Works, on the lower east side; Falai Bakery or Falai Cafe; the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck; L.A. Burdick (caneles are wonderful), Balthazar, the new Bomboloni place on the UWS, La Madeleine on 23rd Street (lots of macaron flavors). The Brooklyn Flea and Red Hook offer interesting desserts, though again, not specifically french/italian. Finally, if you're still around for the New Amsterdam market, you may want to peruse that.

                            Finally, for slightly offbeat desserts: try Kalustyan's for middle-eastern, or falooda, kulfi, or the various types of brightly colored nut fudges at a South Asian place.

                            -----
                            Kalustyan's
                            123 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

                            Del Posto
                            85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                            Falai
                            68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

                            Locanda Verde
                            377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

                            L.A. Burdick
                            5 E 20th St, New York, NY 10010

                            Dessert Truck Works
                            6 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

                            Bomboloni
                            187 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10023

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: firni
                              b
                              burgeoningfoodie Sep 1, 2010 01:01 PM

                              Thanks for the recs. I don't know if we will get to the UWS how far is Otto from say.. Salumeri Rosi or Kefi? I was thinking Del Posto when walking the Highline, but plans may be changed (see my link about Union Sq/St. James Theater). I don't think I'll be able to hit Kee's as they are only open Tues- Friday and Friday it is suppose to be crappy out. Right now it looks like Saturday and Sunday.. maybe some of Monday will be in the city. The rest is out on LI.

                              I think I found a site that links to all the twitter feeds for the various trucks.. I know about the Salty Pimp... Isn't Big Gay Ice Cream usually in Times Square?

                              -----
                              Del Posto
                              85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                              Kefi
                              505 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024

                              1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                                seal Sep 1, 2010 02:02 PM

                                Just came back from a disappointing experience at Del Posto. I would rather get a Fatwitch brownie or any of ten other treats from spots in Chelsea Market than eat anything except maybe the garganelli at Del Posto again.
                                Do yourself a favor and make a reservation at the bar on the 18th floor of the Standard for drinks though. They also have a nice bar menu.
                                We had a great experience at Spot on St. Mark's. It is a dessert bar with some unique desserts that look as beautiful as they taste. Like Chikalicious mentioned above, it is just desserts and they would not be out of place at Per Se.

                                1. re: seal
                                  b
                                  burgeoningfoodie Sep 1, 2010 02:07 PM

                                  Noted on Del Posto... Any good spots to eat near Union Square that are cheaper than Union Sq. Cafe and Gotham B&G?

                                  -----
                                  Del Posto
                                  85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                                  1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                                    daffyduck Sep 2, 2010 09:17 AM

                                    the big gay ice cream truck is right by union square. dont order the curry coconut flakes, unless you like something that tastes like potato chips with your ice cream.
                                    spot is not far from union square. my gf works there and she told me that an hour before closing cookies and cupcakes are half off.

                                    1. re: daffyduck
                                      f
                                      firni Sep 2, 2010 11:46 AM

                                      I would check the Big Gay Ice Cream truck's twitter feed for their location - I think it usually is near Union Square, but does change and I've gone there and been disappointed. Salty Pimp and the curry coconut are good, though be aware the ice cream is the usual soft serve. Also - the van Leeuwen truck is usually in the vicinity.

                                      In terms of time constraints - stay downtown, more efficient.

                                      If you go to Stand, near Union Square, there is a toasted marshmallow shake that people rave about. Also, there is City Bakery, which has numerous baked goods. Otto is near Union Square, south of it on 8th street, i think.

                                      Taralluci e Vino has a location on 1st and 10th and someone north of Union Sq - 18th street, I think. They have Italian baked goods and gelato. Abraco, on 7th and 1st also has delicious Italian baked goods and coffee.

                                      -----
                                      City Bakery
                                      3 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011

                                      Abraco
                                      86 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003

                                      1. re: firni
                                        p
                                        Pan Sep 3, 2010 11:54 PM

                                        What do you like at Abraco? I haven't gone there because I don't drink coffee, but I'm very interested in any good baked items.

                                        1. re: Pan
                                          o
                                          ossauiraty Sep 4, 2010 05:57 AM

                                          Yeah, I've heard that the olive oil cake is amazing, but I would also like to hear what other people have to say.

                            2. p
                              pbjluver Sep 1, 2010 11:28 AM

                              check out Stuffed Artisan Cannolis - Lower East Side

                              http://www.stuffedcannoli.com/

                              http://www.yelp.com/biz/stuffed-artis...

                              -----
                              Stuffed Artisan Cannolis
                              176 Stanton St, New York, NY 10002

                              1. b
                                billyeats Sep 4, 2010 11:55 AM

                                Coconut or chocolate chip cookie at Birdbath
                                Banana-chocolate ice cream sandwich at Three tarts
                                Crack pie at Milk Bar
                                Almond croissant at CeciCela
                                Banana pudding at Magnolia
                                Chocoate covered cheerios at Jaques Torres

                                1. g
                                  Geo8rge Sep 5, 2010 09:18 AM

                                  Miniature $1 cupcakes.

                                  http://www.bakedbymelissa.com/#

                                  -----
                                  Baked by Melissa
                                  7 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003

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