It hides behind a nondescript brick building. Just a simple sign: “S&S Cheese Cake, Inc.” The door was barred. There was another sign near the door that said, “Ring bell.” I rang the bell. The door opened for me.
The front room was dark, dingy but as I walked through, I saw a few cheese cakes in a refrigerator. A man in a coat and watch cap emerged. “Can I help you?” He asked as he tentatively moved toward me.
I asked about the cheese cakes.
“A small is $14. With fruit it’s $17.”
I didn’t need fruit or any other topping. I wanted the cheese cake in its purest form.
He put a small plain cheese cake in a box.
We chatted a bit. The man said his name was Ben.
“Are you the owner?” I asked.
A sly smile formed at the corner of his mouth. He nodded slowly. “I’m one of them.”
He went on to tell me that he was soon going to open a steakhouse next door to the cheese cake factory on 238th Street.
“Any particular type of steakhouse?” I inquired.
“Like Peter Luger’s,” he said with a confident smile.
“Oh, that sounds very good,” I said. “When do you plan to open?”
He gave me that sly mysterious smile again. “I’m not really sure…maybe in a few months.”
He asked what I did. I told him about this website of mine. He showed no recognition, not that I expected any.
“Mimi Sheraton likes us,” he remarked.
“I’ve heard your cheese cake is the best,” I said. “But not from Mimi Sheraton.”
He nodded and flashed the confident smile.
We walked out onto 238th Street together. I told him I would return soon…when the steakhouse opened. He shook my hand and just smiled.
I took the cheese cake home and opened the box. I cut a small slice and took a bite.
I was going to Google Mimi Sheraton, the former New York Times restaurant critic, to see what she had to say about the S&S cheese cake, but really didn’t need to. There was a word that best described how it tasted. I took another bite, savoring it’s creamy, unadulterated essence. At first I couldn’t think what it was and then I looked at the box in which it came in. And the word was right there in front of me.
S&S Cheese Cake Inc.
222 W. 238th Street