Veniero's is the oldest Italian pastry shop in the US, opened and owned since 1894 by the Veniero family. During its long life, this East Village place has earned multiple awards and is said to be the best place for dessert in New York. This put the bar pretty high considering the multiple options the City has to offer. So I was very excited to try it and we decided to go after our lunch at S'Mac and right before seeing the movie Dallas Buyers Club with Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto (great performance from both by the way). When we arrived, we noticed the café adjacent to the pastry shop and decided to come back after the movie, to have some time to taste several pastries. So, chose promise, chose due (promises are made to be kept): more than two hours later, we reenter the place that is packed! I was so glad that I took few photos earlier.
When you enter the place, you arrive in the pastry shop where I could probably spend an afternoon looking at these fantastic desserts in regular and small size, drooling on the ornate marble floor. I thought it was great to propose the smaller size, so one can try several kinds of Italian desserts, but I can ensure you that I would have had a hard time making up my mind!
It can be so crowded that you need to pick a number to be served before going back in line.
Passing the crowd, there is another display, for large cakes (you can admire the staff decorating cakes if you like):
And then, here is the café, in the back, with its incredible stained glass ceiling and an authentic atmosphere that transports you back in time in Italy.
Jodi decided to order a coconut cake:
Not a surprising choice as it is her favorite dessert. This one was just ok and she did not even finish it. The disappointing factor was the fact that the cream on top did not incorporate any coconut: it was just drizzled on top of the cake. So far, her favorite, and I would agree, is the coconut cake from Balthazar that you can even find at its sister restaurant, Minetta Tavern.
On my side, I chose the Baba au rhum:
They propose it with or without custard. I decided to go with. It was another disappointment: the cake seemed to be a bit stale, although imbibed with the rum and there was an off taste. I could not even eat half of it.
After these two miss, we had high hopes on the cannoli:
It looked good and appetizing. The shell was very good, fresh and crispy, however, the filling was a bit bland.
I guess the only thing I loved there was my double espresso...
I was very disappointed by Veniero's and it is after trying three of their desserts, two of them quite traditional. Maybe the Italian cookies are better, but clearly not what we picked. If I had to compare it to another Italian pastry and propose it as an alternative, it would be Villabate Alba in Brooklyn.
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And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!