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The Early Word on Drunk Food Heaven, Led Zeppole

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Led Zeppole At Night
Led Zeppole At Night
Photo: Flickr/kathyylchan

When Artichoke Pizza owners the Basille brothers opened the doors of Led Zeppole earlier this month, line enthusiasts and Led Zeppelin pun lovers everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief. So, too, we imagine, did Coney Island nostalgics and those in search of heart-stopping late night confections. Make no mistake, folks: this is drunk food. And according to most early reactions, it's good stuff. As much as some love to rag on the Basille ethos, it looks like the brothers have themselves another EV money minter. To the early word:

The Good News: Over on Chowhound, guttergourmet starts a thread on the newcomer and shells out some love: "Went by last night-no lines despite rather balmy weather for January. had 3 giant zeppoles with powdered sugar for $2.50. They gave me a bottle of Aunt Jemima to squeeze on top. Maple syrup on a zeppole? A Sicilian guy standing next to me said "that's so wrong" but it was so right... The ricotta calzone with powdered sugar also shouldn't have worked but the sweet sugar complimented the tangy fried ricotta filled dough perfectly." [CH]

The Bad News: From an unimpressed, nauseous Yelper: "It was very gimmicky with the carnival theme and the goods just weren't calling out my name....I was surprised when I found that the deep fried Oreo was hot. It wasn't greasy and that was a plus...The batter of the deep fried Oreo is the same as the zeppoles. It was soft and sweet from the powdered sugar. Sadly the Oreo did not add much flavor to the bite nor did it give it any oomph. I looked at the innards and the cream in the middle of the cookie seemed to have disappeared. Maybe it wasn't even an Oreo? Maybe it was just a cheap generic chocolate cookie...On to the cannoli. The kid said it was really rich. It wasn't rich at all. It was bland and the cannoli shell was soggy! Led Zeppole also has funnel cake and giant half moon shaped calzones filled with ricotta cheese. They'll even drizzle maple syrup over it if you want. Everything is fried and if you like the nauseating effects of amusement park food then Led Zeppole is the place for you." [Yelp]

The Great News: AlwaysHungry posts an early recap (with primo food porn) raving about much of the offerings: "The namesake zeppoles are fist-sized, spongy, fried dough rounds with crisp exteriors covered in powdered sugar. The option of a drizzle of maple syrup makes them taste like breakfast. At $1 each, they’re a ridiculously good deal. The funnel cake ($4.00), which wasn’t at all greasy, is what you always wish you’d get at the amusement park. The cannolis ($3.50/each) were good, with the option of being topped with almonds, chocolate chips, or one on each side, but the real showstopper was the calzone ($5.00). It’s a thin crust covered with Parmesan (you can ask for more if you want) that tears easily so the creamy mozzarella-ricotta mixture can spill out and be slurped up." [AlwaysHungry]

The Excellent News: Says a happy Yelper: "If you are from New Jersey, this is like having Meadowland's Fair IN YOUR MOUTH! Don't read into the aforementioned statement too much or you'll surely be left with a bad taste in your mouth. IF you've already thought that over one too many times, forget what I just said and head over to Led Zeppole anyway, ESPECIALLY if you are craving the smell and taste of fried dough goodness and simply don't care about the shower of powdered sugar leaving embarrassing stains all over your clothes...Led Zeppole should always be the start of your junk food extravaganza...BTW, the staff are extremely friendly, and you can burn a few extra calories while standing and eating since there are no tables or chairs." [Yelp]

The Solid News: Commenters on a Serious Eats preview (also with excellent zeppole porn) seem to love: "Been there 3 times already. Fried oreos are okay, wish they weren't overpowered by so much fried dough. Zeppoles are good. Cannolis are delicious, top 3 I've ever had. Chocolate soft serve is delicious. They had cream puffs last night, but I couldn't take another fried dessert. I'm worried for my heart." Says another: "Amazing eats for late night after the bars, got the fried oreos and they were fresh outta the oven, so the powdered sugar melted making it a hot sticky mess of heaven. That, plus the fact that the guy working was super cute, makes this place an extremely welcome addition to the block." [SeriousEats]

The "NYTimes Mislead Me" News: @WellNested takes to the Twitter to vent: "I really wanted to love Led Zeppole...but those sinkers were nothing like the "feather-light doughnuts" that @nytimes promised they were." [Twitter]

The "Go Here Sloshed" News: On Foursquare, user George S. declares, "For late night snacks, you need to go here!" [Foursquare]

The Twitterific News: @tuckerbaileyco is enthused: "OMG-best zeppoles EVER-better than any zeppole ($1!!!)you have EVER had-fried oreo is tasty but not necessary." @danimop finds the place "lifechanging," and @thomas_garry is satisfied: "The PB&J italian ice at Led Zeppole is exactly what I had hoped it would be: a revelation." [Twitter]
—Gabe Ulla

Artichoke Pizza

328 East 14th Street, New York, NY 10003

Led Zeppole

328 E 14th St., New York, NY