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Dec 17, 2006 12:05 AM

bi-rite creamery opens

After a free-sample day yesterday, it finally opened today after teasing us with "opening summer 2006" signs. And wow was it worth waiting for.

I had two flavors. Coffee toffee is strongly coffee flavored, with dark coffee flecks and not much sweetness. Contrasting the bitterness of the coffee are hypersweet toffee chunks -- real butter toffee in thick crunchy shards. Amazing. Even better is the salted caramel. The caramelized sugar taste isn't as strong as at Toscanini or Christina's (both in Cambridge MA), but the salt rounds out the sweetness and burntness well. Both flavors are rich and fatty, squarely at the ice cream end of the continuum: no gelato, this. I finally no longer yearn for Massachusetts ice cream.

The friends I was with were underwhelmed by the roasted banana and vanilla flavors; I didn't try them. But they liked that a kiddie scoop costs just $1.95, and the kiddie with me was extremely happy with his pineapple sorbet.

They also have cookies and cupcakes from Bi-Rite's bakery. I'm not a big fan of their cupcakes: I find the cake too dense. For that, I can go to Delessio or Teacake Bakeshop. And, anyway, I shouldn't be having ice cream and a cupcake at the same time.

Oddly, there was no line. I expected crowds resembling Tartine on Saturday at 10 am or Mitchell's on a summer evening.

They're closing today and tomorrow at 6 pm, and regular hours (posted on their website) start Monday.

Dolores St, north side, just east of 18th street -- tucked between Padilla Realty and Stem

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  1. Darn, I just missed it when I was up there last week. We walked by and thought the flavors on the window looked great -- salted caramel and huckleberry! I was just complaining that in L.A., everyone is obsessed with Pinkberry, which tastes like cold nothing.

    1. Sorry, I must have been in post-salted-caramel heaven when I wrote the location: it should be 18th Street, north side, just east of Dolores.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          It didn't stop me! Just got home from biking there (it was indeed a bit chilly), but it was worth it...this is a great place! I sampled 3 flavors before settling on a fourth (and then sampling my friend's, so that makes 5.)

          I was also underwhelmed by the roasted banana, it tasted a bit too sweet and didn't have enough banana flavor. For banana, I'll stick with Mitchell's for now.

          The goat milk vanilla was interesting, I didn't love the texture of the ice cream, much less full, almost icy tasting. The flavor was pretty mild, both goat-wise and vanilla-wise. Not as different as I had expected it to be. I wouldn't order this again, but then again I'm not a huge fan of vanilla, and the creaminess of the regular ice cream there is pretty irresistable.

          The chocolate ice cream was excellent. Perfect balance of sweet and bitter in the chocolate flavor, rich and creamy, definitely reminded me of ice cream in MA (Herrell's, Toscanini's, Christina's, etc)

          I finally ordered a small cup of the salted caramel. This was also excellent. Next time I'd probably go for a double scoop w/ this and the chocolate.

          My friend had the butter pecan. It was very buttery, pecan flavor was more subtle. Very good.

          They said that flavors would be changing pretty regularly, I'm excited to see what else they come out with. Thanks David K. for posting about this place. I'll definitely be back

          Dave MP

        2. Boyfriend and I just stopped in for a before dinner treat. Probably due to the chilly weather, it was pretty quiet inside. The staff were very eager and willing to let us try anything, to the point of foisting flavor after flavor on us to sample. I sampled the toffee coffee which was incredibly strong - had a real good kick to it. Also tried the salted caramel which, as others have already commented on, was wonderful. Unlike previous posters, I really enjoyed the roasted banana. I didn't find it to be overly sweet and while the banana flavor is subtle, I much prefer that. Other sample was the ginger which was a close second to the roasted banana - the ginger was strong without overpowering the ice cream. I ultimately settled on the roasted banana. Boyfriend did the brownie sundae with the salted caramel.

          A great addition to the neighborhood. I look forward to going back and trying some more!

          1. It is closed on Wednesday !!! What kind of place does that ... I should have known when I found parking that something was wrong.