La Bergamonte Patisserie
515 West 52nd Street (10/11 Ave), Hell’s Kitchen/Midtown West
While it has been in the top 3 dessert listing in Zagat for years, I had never given must thought to La Bergamonte. I always wrote it off as some snobby place where the pastries would look great but taste like cardboard. Luckily, I was partially wrong all these years. Yes, the pastries look great, but they actually taste even better! And while I don’t know if it’s snobby, because we were the only customers, the staff was friendly, and who really cares when the sweets are this good?? The mousse mouse was rich and chocolaty, but the raspberry Napoleon was unbelievable! It was easily the best Napoleon I have ever had. The cream was rich with a thick texture, the filo layers were not too stiff and not too soggy, and the ripe whole raspberries put it over the top. It was one of those special food items, where every bite I took was a high because it was so delicious, but simultaneously a low, because I knew it was one bite closer to coming to an end.
The one downside of the Hell’s Kitchen location is that it’s on a boring side street and is easily overlooked. The facade looks like it’s a Midtown deli, but the inside is more sleek and modern. The Chelsea branch is more inviting, more like a traditional cafe. Either way, go for the pastries, they are quite remarkable.