Dining Out: Bay Ridge sweet spot

January 13, 2015 Helen Klein
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Dining Out: Pasticceria Rocco

Ridgeites with a sweet tooth can now enjoy the very same treats as people in Texas, Dubai and Saudi Arabia, thanks to the opening in August of Rocco’s Pasticceria.

The delicious irony of this is that the desserts that have been shipped to far-flung foodies are produced right in Bay Ridge, in a space that Rocco’s – a 40-year-old café which expanded from its Greenwich Village location – dedicated to wholesale production.

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Rocco Generoso – whose dad, also named Rocco, started the business –said that, after four years, the wholesale operation began to outgrow its location. When the space next door became available, he jumped at the opportunity to expand, which also allowed him to open the pasticceria, which carries some of the same sweet treats as the Manhattan café, as well as a lengthy menu’s worth of breakfasts and sandwiches.

For him, it was a natural move. Born in Bay Ridge, Generoso attended both St. Patrick School and Xaverian High School. “I’m back home,” he stressed. “That’s what this extra space means for us.”

As we sampled a bountiful array of the pasticceria’s specialties, we were certainly glad he was.

Among the highlights were the pancakes, including Banana Pancakes ($8.25): sweet, but not too sweet, and a little over the top. The warm and golden-brown-to-perfection stack of three is topped with caramelized bananas, brown sugar and cinnamon.

Equally good were the Red Velvet Pancakes ($9.50). With a rich, red color and a squiggle of cream cheese frosting on top, they are a creative take on the breakfast classic, just the right treat for those who can’t decide between dessert and breakfast food.

A bit more savory were Rocco’s Whole Wheat & Nut Pancakes ($8.25), airy and studded with nuts for crunch. They were so good that, like the café’s other pancakes, they needed no syrup.

Neither did the Cinnamon Crumb French Toast ($8.95), whose streusel topping was beyond amazing.

The sweets were equally inspiring. We tried a wide range, and everything tasted as good as it looked. The cannoli ($3.50 regular, $2.25 mini) was dense and rich, the crunchy outside sprinkled with chopped pistachios and cradling the traditional cream, studded with bits of chocolate.

The Napoleon ($3.00 regular, $2.00 mini) exhibited a satisfying balance of flaky crust and layered vanilla custard, sweet yet refreshing. The Fruittamisu ($6.50) featured a flaky pastry filled with light and refreshing mascarpone and luscious fresh berries.

We tried the Tiramisu ($6.50) as well. Dense and delicious, its richness was offset by a sprinkling of cocoa powder. The Lemon Meringue ($7) was equally satisfying, especially for citrus lovers, rich and dense yet not too sweet.

And, what’s a café without great coffee? Rocco’s concoctions fit the bill. The vanilla latte ($3.75) made for the perfect pick-me-up. The vanilla flavor was subtle but certainly added to the steamed milk classic. Tiramisu Cappuccino ($3.75) came out steaming and sweet, with a delightful froth on top, a cup full of comfort.

In addition, the Bay Ridge branch of Rocco’s has a selection of savories. We tried the Classic Chicken Parmigiana Panini ($8.95), which incorporated crunchy toasted bread, fried chicken cutlets, melted mozzarella, and tangy marinara sauce. We also sampled the Mozzarella, Tomato & Roasted Pepper Panini ($8.95), which highlighted soft grilled veggies and oozing cheese cradled within the triangles of grilled bread.

But, at Rocco’s, it’s more than just the food. Regular customer Reece Peck, sitting at a table with his laptop, said the café was “heaven-sent. It fills a special place in my life. The food is great and I feel like a British gentleman while I am here. This is like an oasis.”

Pasticceria Rocco
9402 Fourth Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11209

Sunday to Thursday, 5 a.m.-12 a.m.
Friday and Saturday, 5 a.m.-1 a.m.

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