After putting it off for years, I finally made a trip to Bensonhurst's Villabate Pasticceria last weekend, and it was totally worth it.
The range of traditional Italian (Sicilian) goodies is astounding; foremost among them are marzipan Easter lambs of varying sizes; beautiful cassata; and gorgeous (and inexpensive!) marzipan fruit, as well as a whole bunch of classic Italian desserts, sfingi di san Giuseppe, sfogliatelle, pignoli and almond cookies, etc., etc.
An added bonus is that they are open on Sunday and one of the employees is a gorgeous, unsmiling brunette who looks like Adriana La Cerva (if she weren't a bottle blonde) from the Sopranos.
Service is prompt and the lines are understandable.
A fantastic experience. We followed this with a lengthy trek to L&B Spumoni Gardens, where I was somewhat underwhelmed by the Sicilian slice.
We bought an assortment of some of the more flamboyant-looking desserts, and even the rather intimidating ones were surprisingly delicate and not excessively sweet. (The colors are much more natural-looking than the picture suggests.)
The marzipan fruit is absolutely beautiful. I'm looking for an excuse to buy a whole bunch of it and pile it on a Baroque heap in the middle of my table.
I know Villabate is known to many hounds, but this is a particularly good time to stop by and check out their goodies.
Villabate Bakery & Pasticceria
7117 18th Avenue (bet. 71st & 72nd Sts.)
Subway stops: W, M @ 71 St.
Open 7 Days, 7am - 9pm