Saturday, May 9, 2009

Quest for the Best: New York Cheesecake Edition

Location: Maxie’s Delicatessen, 723 7th Avenue, NY, NY

Website: Maxie’s Delicatessen on

Price: Various cheesecakes run between $8-10 per slice

Atmosphere: Maxie’s is a large, airy diner-like place more than an actual delicatessen (it even has an upper level with additional seating) set in the middle of Times Square. But you can get any of their menu items, cheesecake included, to go, which is what I would recommend, unless you like dining in Times Square with a bunch of tourists.

My Review: Along with gridlock and public urination, New York City is famous for its cheesecake. And nearly everyone has a different opinion on who offers the best cheesecake in the city. Lindy’s is a popular choice. Then there’s Junior’s, a Brooklyn institution (with locations also in Manhattan). But after several years of living in NYC and sampling cheesecakes from various eateries, famous and not, I have to say that Maxie’s in Times Square has the best cheesecake in New York.

The main reason Maxie’s is my favorite is because they actually get the crust right. Cheesecake needs to have a graham cracker crust, end of story. So many places try to get away with having a sponge cake crust, which tends to just get soggy, or no crust at all, which is beyond blasphemous in the world of cheesecake. A graham cracker crust gives a slight crispness to the naturally soft cheesecake and adds another flavor. Maxie’s also gets the flavor right in that it’s pure cheesecake. Too many places add lemon to their cheesecake, which tends to overpower the natural flavors already there. If I wanted lemon cheesecake, I would order lemon cheesecake. But I hate lemon cheesecake, so keep your damn lemon flavoring out of my regular cheesecake! Maxie’s gets everything right, from the crust to the natural flavor to the creamy, not runny, consistency.

One of the primary complaints about Maxie’s is that it’s an overpriced tourist trap, which is pretty much true. They offer huge portions of food that is basically typical diner fare, charge an arm and leg for the hefty portions, and the Times Square location makes it an obvious spot for tourists. Even their cheesecake is a bit overprices at $8-10 per slice (depending on whether you’re a cheesecake purist or want one of their more exotic flavors), but the slices are huge and can easily be divided in half or thirds to share with someone else (if you’re nice) or to save to enjoy later (if you’re me).

Bottom Line: Edging out some pretty fierce competition, Maxie’s has the best New York cheesecake I’ve had so far. Skip having dinner there (unless you like paying $15 for a sandwich) and get a slice of their cheesecake to go, so you can enjoy it at home without the prying eyes of lost Midwesterners staring at you through the windowed walls. I prefer the plain cheesecake, but there are plenty of flavor options on display for you to drool and debate over.

1 comment:

  1. Their Snickers Cheesecake is quite delicious - huge chunks of Snickers bars on top and a nutty graham cracker crust.