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Mar 25, 2008 10:53 AM

Sketch ice cream

This was embedded in another review, here it is, I was curious what people thought of it after the newly re-formulated Sketch:

It was off to Sketch for dessert, specifically their faboulous ice milk almost "ice cream". when I visited a couple yrs back the ice cream served up here was truly some of the very best I have ever had. So arrived at Fourth St and entered Sketch and noticed to my dismay that they wouldn't be scooping the ice cream but rather it would arrive out of a machine that wouldn't be out of place at a Pinkberry or local fro-yo shop. This saddened me. And when I tried the ice cream, it saddened me even more. The magic was gone, the ice cream was not good at all. Pedestrian at best, and I had been one of Sketch's biggest fans on my one and beyond blissful visit there. Also, if you're trying to get two flavors they have to come from the same machine or else you have to buy to separate scoops at full price. What a fleecing to boot. I really wanted to love it again, but alas Sketch had gone severely downhill.

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  1. I concur. I've been a few times since they switched to the soft serve machines, and I think it's definitely worse than before (although still not bad if you're already at 4th Street). The only thing that improves is the vanilla with olive oil and salt is better with the soft serve than with the old ice cream.

      1. I totally agree. I keep going back b/c I love Ruthie and Eric so much and I want them to do well, but I definitely thought that they had a superior product before.

        I've tried cocoa nib, earl grey, vanilla, and others I can't remember at the moment. While I think the flavors are good, I thought the texture was much better before. I also hate the fact that the ice cream melts so fast now, and that I can't get two flavors of my choice in one cup unless they're in the same machine.

        This tears me up. It used to be a weekly ritual for my husband and I to have dinner at Tacubaya and then go to Sketch afterwards. Now there's not as much incentive to drive down to 4th St. when we live about 2 blocks from Ici. At Ici, I spend $4.25 and can get two flavors of my choice and one of their awesome cones with dark chocolate in the bottom... Amazing.

        1. I think it's a huge improvement. Flavor wise, it's the exact same product, which is why I find it odd that you feel the flavor has suddenly become "pedestrian" - there hasn't been any change to their base recipes or ingredient quality. It seems unfair to compare it to Pinkberry, which is the exact opposite of a made from scratch, organic, artisan product. I think your impression may have been different if you visited on a different weekend - last weekend's flavors did not represent Sketch at it's best, as the assortment of seasonal fruit at the market right now is not exactly inspirational.

          I think the texture of the product is markedly superior - softer, silkier, more pleasant mouth-feel, temperature isn't quite as cold making the subtle flavors more pronounced. Its texture reminds me of fresh ice cream straight out of the maker, which is exactly what it is. Melting time hasn't been an issue for me because I eat my ice cream right then and there.

          I do understand the criticism that flavor pairings are now more limited, it's an unfortunate consequence of the machines. I find that they do a good job pairing the right flavors together in each machine. They really aren't trying to get you to pay extra for two separate cups.

          Of course, the big improvement is the introduction of add-ons. Before Sketch 2.0, my biggest criticism of their product was the uniform texture - I like a bit of crunch with my ice cream. Now, I have a fabulous set of toppings and sauces to choose from. Peppermint ice cream with cocoa nibs and chocolate sauce. Coconut ice cream with candied pecans and salted caramel sauce. Vanilla ice cream with poached quince. Almond ice cream with olive oil and salt. Heaven! I would argue that even though I have fewer options in terms of pairing two scoops, I have more options in terms of flavor and texture combinations.

          Plus, there's the introduction of their perfect cone and (my favorite) the waffle. I can't believe I went the first 26 years of my life without having ice cream on top of a fresh waffle. Their waffle is spectacular - light, crispy, subtle eggy flavor. On a windy night the hot waffle topped with cold ice cream, candied nuts, and caramel sauce is pure comfort food.

          So count me in as a die hard fan who loves the changes. I thought you couldn't improve on perfection - they proved me wrong.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Morton the Mousse

            I agree 100% with Morton. The reason they switched to the current format is to control the texture of their product to a greater degree. I think that what you're getting is exactly what Eric and Ruthie have been striving for. I don't think their master scheme is to make people pay extra for extra flavor. . they really just want a very specific texture. I swooned when I first saw the new machines because it reminded me of somewhat frozen custard stands so I was very happy.

            Also, their add ons are top notch. Their baked goods are some of the best around. . they are master pastry chefs and it shows. The fresh fig cake, when it's in season is beyond compare. And admittedly, I adore those two lovely folks - so take that into consideration. :)

            Also, it seems to be a matter of taste and I seem to be in the great minority as I find both Ici and Bi-Rite vastly over-hyped. That being said you might take my comments with a grain of salt if you enjoy Ici and Bi-Rite because I don't get either one of them.

            Speaking of grains of salt. . if you've never had their salted, chocolate covered toffee, you've missed out on one of the greatest confections ever.

          2. For the record, I did not like Bi-Rite. I thought the flavors were good, but it was too rich, too sweet, too heavy.

            I, too, eat my ice cream right then and there, but I have a pet peeve about ice cream melting before I get halfway through it, which Sketch's does. I like it to stay frozen till I'm at the end (or at least almost at the end).

            Having said that, I think that the little chocolate cake that Sketch makes is phenomenal. It was the best chocolate cake my husband or I have ever had. A couple of seconds in the microwave made the center perfectly molten while the outside remained pleasantly crisp. That, alone, is worth going back for.

            3 Replies
            1. re: chemchef

              I must eat my ice cream a lot faster than you do ;)

              1. re: Morton the Mousse

                Wow, I guess so, Morton! I didn't know it was possible!! I am a self-proclaimed ice cream fiend. Just ask my husband.... :-)

              2. re: chemchef

                I thought one of the great things about Bi-Rite flavors was that they were NOT too sweet. That's definitely the case with their chocolate. Now, Mitchell's, their stuff I find way too sweet and one-dimensional and often too rich.