While quite simple — the American standard is a cream cheese-based filling in a graham cracker crumb crust — there’s no reason cheesecake has to be boring.
Here are five East Valley restaurants that serve cheesecake with a twist:
S’Bistro: You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy owner-chef Brian Banasek’s creative cheesecake lollipops ($2 apiece, pictured at right), which come in a variety of flavors and coatings with sauces. 124 W. Main Street, Mesa, (480) 962-0344,
La Calabria: Italians substitute ricotta for cream cheese, resulting in a drier texture. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better example than the cheesecake ($5.95 per slice) made by owner-chef Giovanni Spataro’s wife, Clara. 1534 E. Ray Road, Gilbert, (480) 726-3537.
McDuffy’s Grille: How do Americans improve a dessert that’s been around for at least 2,000 years? By deep-frying it, of course. McDuffy’s “cheesecake bites” ($5.29) are served with ice cream. 980 E. Pecos Road, Chandler, (480) 966-8200.
Cork: Pastry chef Danielle Morris uses chevre, a creamy goat’s milk cheese, for a tangy French twist, served with champagne grapes and port-soaked fig ($5). 4991 S. Alma School Road, Chandler, (480) 883-3773.
Vito’s Pizza: Take turtle cheesecake bites, bury in chocolate cream and top with nuts, chocolate chips and caramel. This pizzeria’s Chocolate Eruption ($7) lives up to its name. 1947 N. Lindsey Road, Mesa, (480) 832-3311.