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Best Cheesecake

Fina pastries
344 Bowery, 253-0002

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The sentimental pick here is Junior’s, but what can you say about a place that boasts of selling 7,000 cheesecakes a week while daring to claim in its brochure that it doesn’t “mass-produce” them? We prefer the pecan-crusted ricotta cheesecake at Fina, the Lower East Side bakery and café opened by Carolyn Giacalone. Based on her Sicilian mother’s recipe, Giacalone’s hybrid version is more refined and delicate than the classic New York style, yet creamier and less crumbly than the typical Italian ricotta. The cake derives its subtle citrusy tang from an orange confit that is simmered for several days. Giacalone scoffs at the notion of fat-free cheesecake (another dubious Junior’s achievement). “Ricotta cheesecake isn’t for someone who’s afraid to eat,” she says. The bravehearted can also find hers at at John’s Pizzeria. Honorable mention: Brooklyn Diner USA’s Cousin Esther’s New York–style cheesecake.


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