145 Seventh Ave. S., at Charles St.; 646-722-6570
City Bakery’s Maury Rubin, a man truly steeped in the patissier’s milieu of butter and eggs, is late to the vegan game. But when he opened an East Village outpost and started getting requests from the natives for animal-product-free indulgences, he complied with a separate line of cookies and muffins. He also invented something new—not merely a simulacrum of a known dessert, which is the typical vegan-baker path, but something heretofore unseen in pastry circles. The banana-sesame-agave cake is a dense puck-shaped thing, crunchy outside and tender within, teeming with nutty sesame seeds and impregnated with a few moist chunks of dried banana, just lightly sweetened with agave syrup. Crunchy, chewy, and barely sweet, it’s the perfect middle ground between hard-core health food and those cloying cupcakes proliferating all over town.
Best Vegan Treat
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).