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THE BEST: Ice Cream in NYC


AppleBrownBetty
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I'll leave the arguments for whether or not these are the "best" to others, but here are several NYC ice cream places I've enjoyed:

Otto

Il Laboratorio del Gelato

Cones

Australian Homemade Ice Cream

Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

Eddie's Sweet Shop (Queens)

Mary's Dairy

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

Ciao Bella

Shake Shack (frozen custard)

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With regard to Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, I've always found their flavors very interesting, but their actual ice cream quality isn't on a par with most of the other "top tier" places. Of course, if you want durian flavor, it is pretty much the only game in town.

I want pancakes! God, do you people understand every language except English? Yo quiero pancakes! Donnez moi pancakes! Click click bloody click pancakes!

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With regard to Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, I've always found their flavors very interesting, but their actual ice cream quality isn't on a par with most of the other "top tier" places.  Of course, if you want durian flavor, it is pretty much the only game in town.

Well said. I feel the same way.

JJ Goode

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And even though it's a Boston-based chain, I've always been happy with Emack & Bolio's as well.

EBo's is where I go when I'm feeling nostalgic for home (or happen to get tricked into going to Macy's), and I like it, but I usually end up wishing it were Tosci's or Christina's instead. Or Bart's. Or even J.P. Licks. But especially Bart's. Damn you, now I need to do a road trip.

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

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I haven't been to many of the spots listed on this thread, but I'll throw in my votes anyway, based on different styles of ice cream.

American style - Emack and Bolio's

Italian style - Il Laboratorio di Gelato

French style - La Maison du Chocolat (note they only have a limited selection and it's only on offer during the warmer months)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I feel like an expert on this subject - having made many trips to NYC just to experience every ice cream in the city....and even conducted ice cream tours of NYC with my star employees...

There isn't great ice cream in New York at any of the made-on-site ice cream joints - I don't think much of the ones that don't make their own.

But, there is GREAT gelato at OTTO. Better than any I had in Italy - the olive oil gelato with maldon sea salt made me weep. Meredith knows here stuff - and man!

Chikkaliscious, not known specifically for their ice creams as much as everything else, but I loved the lemon milk sorbet served on top of the lemon verbena gelee -- they use a Paco-jet for the ice creams - http://www.pacojet.com/ which is a way cool method to make ice cream on a small scale.

Sorbets at Craft were lovely as was the meal.

Cones was a runner-up - and the best ice cream shop - (but desparately needs a new sign)...

A related side note... I think the worst service in all New York food establishments is at it's ice cream counters (what's with the two taste minimum Il labortorio?). The employees everywhere I've been have been disconnected, disinterested and disengaged. Believe me, I don't need a song and dance - but a little professionalism would be well rewarded - it's good for the community - and it shows that you're an expert. Why are full service restaurants always judged on their level of professional service, but ice cream joints aren't. I think they should be - it's the overall experience that makes it worth it. Plus, it's easy to give great service when you work at an ice cream shop c'mon... there is no excuse.

And speaking of Cold Stone Creamery - I don't like their ice cream - but I ABHOR their service - that they sing a song when tipped drives me insane...it's the other end of horrible customer service in my opinion - and it shows that their ice cream needs gimmicks.

Edited by jenifresh (log)

Jeni Britton

Jeni's Fresh Ice Creams

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I haven't been to many of the spots listed on this thread, but I'll throw in my votes anyway, based on different styles of ice cream.

American style - Emack and Bolio's

Italian style - Il Laboratorio di Gelato

French style - La Maison du Chocolat (note they only have a limited selection and it's only on offer during the warmer months)

I would add Otto and Lagoolies in Astoria.. Lagoolies makes there own ices and ice cream.

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Not in NYC, but my vote for best ice cream goes to Applegate Farms in Upper Montclair NJ.

Again... not in NYC but worth noting... at Applegate farms do NOT settle for the pre-packed ice cream they sell. The hand-packed pints are the same stuff they sell by the cone and it is exceptional but the pre-packed is only a step or two above supermarket dreck.

I agree about the gelato at Otto - it's fantastic. Although they're not an ice cream place I once had a malted ice cream for dessert when eating in the front room at Gramercy Tavern. It was exceptional - the bets ice cream I've ever had in NYC.

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  • 4 months later...

I confess to enjoying this summer the ice cream at the La Salle Ice Cream Parlor. One note of convenience: it's only a couple of blocks from where I live. Second note of convenience: the local Gristede's carries it; tastes the same, but just 1.99 a pint.

I'm crazy about the chocolate, like the cherry vanilla and pistachio very much, and I normally don't like those flavors at all. The coconut almond fudge is also worth a try. (I can never find that in the supermarket) Apparently this has been around since the 1970s and I just caught up with it this summer.

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Am I the only one who finds the Chinatowm Ice Cream Factory ice creams chewy or gummy? In spite of that, I enjoyed the flavor of their black sesame seed ice cream the other day. They have a Nolita branch uptown on Kenmare Street conveniently located to L'Esquina taqueria.

Robert Buxbaum

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Capogiro Gelato, out of Philadelphia, available at Garden of Eden, is the best ice cream I've ever eaten, bar none.  It's very pricey (about $10 a pint) but has more flavor packed into it than anything I've ever eaten.  And their flavors are simply incredible.

I'd meaning to ask you all about this. I'm intrigued....but I still can't justify paying that much for a pint of ice cream when there's a pint of nocciole Ciao Bella right next to it for half the price. That's my SECOND favorite ice cream after the Cones zabayon.

so is the Capogiro REALLY worth it??

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I can't speak for everyone (obviously) but subtlety isn't normally something I look for in ice cream. Capogiro packs more flavor into a pint of ice cream than anything I've ever come across - it's amazing. Just pick a flavor you really like - things like lime-cilantro can be hit or miss, depending on how much you like the fundamental flavor combination.

I want pancakes! God, do you people understand every language except English? Yo quiero pancakes! Donnez moi pancakes! Click click bloody click pancakes!

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Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.

Here, Here!! Smashing good black sesame, ginger, and fortune cookie ice flavors. :wub:

unfortunately i found the 'almond cookie' ice cream there to taste like a bottle of almond extract...nothing reminiscent of the more subtle and sweet flavor of the almond cookies i grew up eating.

the black sesame had an interesting texture w/ the actual seeds, but i prefer the black sesame icecream that contains the roasted seeds, mixed with some sugar and perhaps a bit of fat...(i have had this in steamed wrapped versions in toronto..it was heavenly). this would be the black sesame flavor i seek in the ice cream. i was able to make something that was, IMHO, better than CICF, at home.

i too found the texture a bit lacking.

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Don't like Capogiro, no subtlety. 

It really depends on the flavor. It's true that many of the Capogiro concoctions are pretty intense, and in fact those are usually my favorites, but I guess that just comes down to personal preference. I've had Il Laboratorio gelato, and I liked it a lot, and look forward to having more, but the flavors I tried seemed a bit TOO subtle. But that's just my taste.

This summer, Capogiro has been making some very elegant fruit gelatos, like a yellow plum or a white peach, that really sneak up softly on your palate. And some of the herby sorbettos are quite delicate as well (although it's true, the cilantro lime really whacks you over the head, for better or worse!)

I'm not sure how wide a range of flavors are making their way north, but if you want to slog through over 150 posts, mostly swooning love-letters, there's a whole topic on the Philly board here, which might clue you in to which varieties to keep an eye out for.

Any time I'm in NY's Chinatown, I find it impossible to get out without a scoop or two of ginger ice cream from the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. It's not especially unique, but I love that stuff. I don't plan to give that up, but maybe follow it up with a side-trip to Il Laboratorio...

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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This summer, Capogiro has been making some very elegant fruit gelatos, like a yellow plumb or a white peach, that really sneak up softly on your palate.

We had the peach yesterday - holy crap, that's freakin' awesome!

I want pancakes! God, do you people understand every language except English? Yo quiero pancakes! Donnez moi pancakes! Click click bloody click pancakes!

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