New York-style Cheesecake Is (Sorry) NOT the Best Cheesecake

And that's coming from a New Yorker.

A slice of cheesecake with a dark brown top layer sitting on a white plate

Chef John/Allrecipes

My grandmother was “Miss Cheesecake” in our family. She adored the dessert and would have it any chance she could. Like any obsession can, hers created an adverse reaction in those who didn't share in the affinity. Thanks to my grandmother's constant cheesecake indulgence, my mother hated it, never made it, and scoffed at the thought of it. I had to pick up the pieces and reignite the appreciation of the dessert in our household.

I’ve had many cheesecakes in my life. (As a born and raised midwesterner, I had my share of special-occasion trips to The Cheesecake Factory.) Of course, the most famous iteration of cheesecake (and the only one most people know about) is New York style. I love New York-style cheesecake, and now as a New Yorker (sorry Midwest fam), I have the luxury of having it at my fingertips. I’m looking at you, Junior’s.

However, I recently came across a cheesecake that looks nothing like New York style, but still calls itself cheesecake. This creation is Burnt Basque Cheesecake. I was curious and checked it out. I am not kidding when I tell you it was the best cheesecake I have ever had—undeniably better than New York-style cheesecake (sorry, not sorry).

What Is Burnt Basque Cheesecake?

Burnt Basque cheesecake hails from the Basque region of Spain, where Chef Santiago Rivera created the confection in his San Sebastian cafe, La Vina, after a series of cake experiments. The innovation has changed the cheesecake game. 

The Difference Between Burnt Basque Cheesecake and New York-Style Cheesecake

In terms of appearance, texture, and taste, both styles differ quite a bit. New York style is known for its (iconic) graham cracker crust, smooth texture, and dense middle. It’s picturesque even. It leans on cream cheese as the star in its flavor profile. Burnt Basque, on the other hand, appears burnt on the outside and doesn’t have a crust at all. Due to being baked in parchment paper, it has wrinkled sides and rough edges. The torched outside is reminiscent of crème brûlée. The texture is not dense at all, but rather light, airy, and soufflé-like. The taste is sweeter and packs more flavor than its New York counterpart (for me). 

You Have To Visit Grace Street for Burnt Basque Cheesecake

Grace Street is a dessert shop in the heart of New York City’s Koreatown. Known for their shaved snow desserts—creamy, ribbon-like ice that comes in a variety of flavors and toppings—they also sell Burnt Basque cheesecake. The cakes come in two different sizes: a four inch that is perfect for one person (or two?) and a seven inch. They have three flavors: original, chocolate, and matcha. Their cheesecake is absolutely delicious and it makes you think about it for days afterward. After the first bite I had to pause for a moment to accept the fact that this bite was the best I ever had. My brain couldn’t comprehend. It gives Junior’s New York-style cheesecake a run for its money.

Last Thoughts

For all of you New York loyalists, it may be hard to accept that there's a cheesecake out there that's better than the one you know and love. Change is hard. I get it. However, making the effort to give Burnt Basque cheesecake a try is the least you can do. And if you like it more, I won’t tell a soul.

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