Don’t you feel terrible when you forget someone’s birthday? With social media, especially Facebook, there’s not much excuse to miss someone’s special day. I hadn’t realized that it was my suitemate’s birthday until I sat down at the table for breakfast and saw a birthday card. Midway through a bite of oatmeal, I had a “oh crap” moment as I realized that I had seen my suitemate earlier that morning without saying anything. I needed to find a bakery before she returned from class, and I ended up speed walking to Veniero’s Pastry Shop.
Veniero’s is an old-style Italian bakery that gives off a feeling of nostalgia when you walk inside. Glass displays are filled with sweets and pastries. Behind the counter, there are containers full of various cookies. In addition, the pastry boxes are tied with string, which seemed very old school. I walked out with pastries for the birthday girl and one for myself – I couldn’t help it.
The chocolate-covered cannoli ($3.75) looked beautifully presented, but the shell near the middle had become soft – either from sitting too long or because of the chocolate coating. We ended up only eating the ends because the soggy middle was very unappetizing. The filling was average, but it wasn’t piped very evenly. Veniero’s is an Italian store, so I definitely expected more from its cannoli. I felt bad for giving such a sub par treat to the birthday girl.
The éclair ($2.95) fared much better than the cannoli; there was nothing soggy or damp about it. It’s a textbook éclair that gets the job done.
My favorite out of all the desserts, though, was the Amore ($4.75). At first glance, my initial reaction was, “That’s a lot of cream cheese filling.” I expected to scrape off some excess near the end, but I never did; the cake to filling ratio was just right. The dense red velvet cake was delicious, and the chocolate ganache layer on top is pretty thick as well. Overall, this cake was one solid brick that left me ready for a happy sugar coma.
The mini cheesecake ($3.75) was also very straight-forward. It’s New-York style, so no crust, and the personal size was just the right guilt-free portion. At least, that’s what I told my suitemate as justification for eating cheesecake at 2PM on a Monday.
The last cake that I bought was the Camilla ($4.75). It consists of layers of yellow sponge cake soaked in raspberry liqueur, raspberry jam, and white chocolate liqueur-infused whipped cream. The whole thing is also wrapped in marzipan. I actually got this one specifically for my suitemate because she was turning 20. She’s still under the legal limit to consume alcohol, so as a joke I got this cake slice. My roommate liked the Camilla, but I didn’t feel the same. There was too much cream, and the marzipan coating was also too thick. I’m also just not a big fan of marzipan. This cake probably would have tasted better if it had been constructed with thicker layers of cake and thinner layers of filling sandwiched between them.
Veniero’s Pastry Shop keeps with tradition in both its dessert offerings and its décor. It’s an institution that I’m sure generations have been visiting since its opening. Not all the desserts are as delicious as they look, though, but with a reasonable price point, it doesn’t hurt to visit Veniero’s Pastry Shop and get yourself a generous slice of cake.
Veniero’s Pastry Shop
342 East 11th St.
New York, New York
Monday-Sunday 8:00AM – 12:00AM