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Egg Cream Round-up

OK-when I need a chocolate egg cream (if you don't know what it is, don't bother responding) I hit Gem Spa, Veselka, Katz's, Yonah Shimmel's, Ray's on Ave A, Soda Shop on Chambers and I just had a good one at HB Burger. Any other decent egg creams around town?

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  1. An excellent egg cream can be had at Russ and Daughters although I have not been able to get one in the winter so it may be seasonal for them! It is hands down better than Yonah's and when I'm at Katz's I only get Cel-Ray. Good luck hunting...

    1. Junior's on 45th, off B'way. I had an excellent egg cream in the take-out area.

      1. Do any of them go old school and offer a pretzel rod with it?

        Which egg cream is your absolute favorite?

        1 Reply
        1. re: CornflakeGirl

          Ray's On Ave A-I love the coffee egg cream and the chocolate one too--the vanilla is good too--Rays rocks.

        2. Believe it or not, Soup Burg on Lexington Ave at 77 Street makes an excellent chocolate egg cream, as good as any I got in the old neighborhood in the 1950's.

          1. eisenbergs is great...i just go with the lime rickey there unfortunately.

            4 Replies
            1. re: sam1

              The one egg cream I had at Eisenberg's was very poor. And the one I tried at Crif Dogs was even worse. Horrible!

              1. re: sam1

                I would add Eisenberg's to the egg cream approved list.

                1. re: sam1

                  I agree with eisenbergs. It was a staple for me every day when I worked around the corner.

                  1. re: sam1

                    Make that four for Eisenberg's.

                  2. i shed a dear for Dave's on canal street. long gone, but never forgotten

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: thew

                      wow, that takes me back, w.....a lime rickey in the middle of the night when stumbling home from the mudd club, i was much more resilient at age 18!

                      but these days, ray's on A is quite good and i recall having a fine chocolate egg cream at the lexington candy shop a while back

                    2. I tried Katz last week and honestly it just didn't do it for me. Had a much better one at Harold's Deli in NJ.

                      1. Surprisingly enough, the best egg cream I've had was at Sammy's Roumanian. (That's where I learned the proper order of the ingredients: milk, seltzer, chocolate syrup (Fox's U-Bet-of course).

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: ellenost

                          But there you make them yourself, no?

                          1. re: guttergourmet

                            It was several years ago, but what I recall is the waiter showing us how to make the egg cream, and then we made additional ones. The trick for me was adding the syrup last to get the beautiful white foam on top.

                        2. My favorite is the Gem Spa. Eisenbergs was ok, but not great.

                          12 Replies
                          1. re: vinegarhill

                            gem spa was the best back in the day ,i havent tried it since,,,good to know they are still good. Big Nick's is Ok but not great. If they dont use U Bet syrup they arent going to be great

                            1. re: foodwhisperer

                              One more time- With the disappearance of Diamond brand (store use only) syrup, formerly used in the New York candy stores, egg creams can never taste quite the same. U-Bet never did the job.

                              1. re: addictedtolunch

                                In your opinion. I grew up with U-Bet chocolate syrup, and unless the egg cream is made with U-Bet, it isn't an egg cream at all!

                                1. re: ellenost

                                  Agree on the choice of U-Bet but only kosher U-Bet (sugar instead of corn syrup).

                                  1. re: guttergourmet

                                    Need to check which one I have. Thanks for the advice!

                                    1. re: guttergourmet

                                      Is that kosher for passover that has no corn syrup? Many kosher products have corn.

                                      I have a Fox's cherry syrup, it is kosher and has corn syrup. The kosher for passover will not have corn of any kind.

                                        1. re: phantomdoc

                                          Definitely kosher for passover that has sugar. I stock up on it (and Coke) every year.

                                          1. re: irishnyc

                                            great idea. jfood even ordered the push pump from U-Bet years ago. One of little jfood's friends finished the syrup and threw out the jar, push pump and all. Have the youth all lost their minds?

                                        2. re: guttergourmet

                                          There's no longer a choice- Diamond went out of business when the candy stores died. Just saying it is impossible to completely replicate the '60s candy store egg cream because a base ingredient used by most of them is no longer around.

                                      1. re: addictedtolunch

                                        can you provide any info on this diamond company?
                                        i never heard of it, and googling only brings me anecdotal references on forums like this

                                        1. re: thew

                                          They're gone. They distributed directly to most candy stores (I worked behind a counter in the Bronx for a short while, where most of the money was actually made running numbers). Stuff was never on the shelf as long as bottled U-Bet was at the seltzer distributor, and was a bit fresher and very sweet.

                                  2. Thanks for the tips. I'll have to try all of those places.
                                    I have always liked Katz's and Juniors egg creams. But I prefer a nice vanilla egg cream. Does that make me a Philistine? At least I know not to ask for a nice pastrami sammich on white with mayo when I go to Katz's.

                                    1. Guttergourmet, so glad to see this thread here as I am working on a chocolate egg cream tour of NYC myself. I've hit every one on your list except Veselka and HB Burger. I thought Gem Spa was the best of the lot and nailed the balance of flavors and white foamy head. I don't think they used any kind of pressurized seltzer bottle or jerk and it's served in a paper cup.
                                      I've also been to Roxy Coffee Shop on John St, Cozy Soup-N-Burger on Broadway near 8th St., Stage Restaurant (across from Gem Spa), Bubby's in Tribeca, and the Lexington Candy Shop (on Lex. & 83rd). LCS was the best one of these and they have an old worn counter where you can sit, a pump for the three pumps of syrup and the soda fountain where the woman who made mine pushed and pulled on it to get the seltzer and foamy head just right. The service was great too. Where is HB Burger?

                                      Does Economy Candy stock the U-Bet with sugar year round? They always have bottles on hand, but I never looked that closely at the labels.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: billyboy

                                        Whenever I'm at Lex Candy Shop I can't try the egg cream because they make the absolute best malted in Manhattan. . http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/596861 HB Burger is on 43rd off of Bway. I think the Passover U-Bet is only available for Passover.

                                      2. For those of you who can tolerate heresy, try substituting orzata for chocolate syrup. It's a great almond flavored egg cream.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Rmis32

                                          I will try that. I also have combined coffee syrup and chocolate syrup to make a mocha egg cream.

                                            1. from Timeout NY
                                              Dark-Chocolate Russian Alcoholic Egg Cream ($11)
                                              Schiller’s Liquor Bar, 131 Rivington St at Norfolk St (212-260-4555)
                                              What’s in it: U-bet chocolate syrup, Stoli Vanil, Kahlúa, milk, seltzer
                                              Why we like it: The fizzy, flavorful spin on the NYC classic is as invigorating as it is intoxicating.
                                              Buzz factor: Sweet as candy, deadly as chloroform.

                                              Read more: http://newyork.timeout.com/articles/r...

                                              4 Replies
                                                1. re: Rmis32

                                                  An egg cream with alcohol? Just what I need. What's next? Brownies baked with pot?

                                                    1. re: guttergourmet

                                                      Now that's a pairing I could appreciate!

                                                  1. I stopped in to Eisenberg's for lunch yesterday and had the BLT and an egg cream. (Although this isn't an Eisenberg's thread, I have to say my sandwich was incredibly basic, incredibly simple, incredibly un fancy-schmancy... and incredibly delicious. Totally hit the spot. I also was completely charmed by the quiet guy behind the counter who prepared my sandwich and put it in front of me with a smile).

                                                    Before this I was an egg cream virgin. Are they supposed to taste like carbonated, uber-watered-down chocolate milkshakes? I'm not trying to be negative or snarky ... I guess from the name I always imagined it being creamy and chocolatey, and this wasn't really either. If that's how it's supposed to be then awesome, I can now say I've tried it. But if it's not, I wanna know so I can try it again elsewhere.

                                                    16 Replies
                                                    1. re: therenowtoo

                                                      <Are they supposed to taste like carbonated, uber-watered-down chocolate milkshakes?>

                                                      Yes, except for the watered-down part. They should taste like Yoo Hoo, only better. Carbonated chocolate milk. No eggs, no cream.

                                                      1. re: therenowtoo

                                                        Hey, therenowtoo,

                                                        The one egg cream I tried at Eisenberg's was awful, so it's no surprise you're wondering about the taste of a perfect egg cream because that definitely is not it!

                                                        It is not in any way a watered down chocolate milkshake; nor does it taste like YooHoo.

                                                        The classic egg cream is made with Fox's U-bet Chocolate Syrup. The milk must be ice cold, and the seltzer must have excellent carbonation. Then there has to be the correct balance among these three components. The finished product should have a nice, foamy head on it and should be sweet with an undercurrent of fizz.

                                                        I recommend you try the egg cream at Gem Spa, on the corner of 2nd & St. Mark's, and/or Ray's, the hole-in-the-wall candy store, on Av. A, b/t 7th & St. Mark's.

                                                        Btw, the one BLT I had at Eisenberg's was awful as well. So, in that regard, it seems you lucked out.

                                                        1. re: RGR

                                                          <nor does it taste like YooHoo.>

                                                          I stand by my assessment. I've had (lots of) Yoo Hoo. I've had (lots of) egg creams. They are similar. You can draw a line between chopped liver & foie gras, but that doesn't mean they don't share certain characteristics.

                                                          1. re: small h

                                                            Don't buy the comparison. Maybe you've been drinking very flat egg creams. Yoo Hoo is great but it's like comparing apples and chairs.

                                                            1. re: small h

                                                              Yoo Hoo and egg creams are both chocolate. Imo, that's where the comparison begins and ends

                                                              1. re: RGR

                                                                As the OP, I gotta jump in here. Haven't been to Eisenberg's in a while and have heard the downhill alerts, but they always made me a damn fine egg cream (try the pastrami and eggs sandwich). As for the comparison with Yoo-Hoo, although I hold some sentimental value for Yoo-Hoo, it ain't no egg cream. Particularly since the primary ingredient is water and the only milk in it are "milk solids" (whatever the hell they are). BTW, I had an excellent egg cream the other day at The Brooklyn Diner in Times Square.

                                                                Yoo-Hoo - Ingredients
                                                                Classic chocolate flavor:

                                                                Water, dairy whey, high fructose corn syrup and/or sugar, non-fat milk, corn syrup solids, cocoa (processed with potassium carbonate), soybean oil (partially hydrogenated), sodium caseinate (protein source), salt, tricalcium phosphate, dipotassium phosphate, xanthum gum, guar gum, mono-and diglycerides, vanillin (an artificial flavor), soy lechitin, calcium ascorbate (vitamin C), natural flavor, vitamin A palmiate, niacinamide (vitamin B3), vitamin D3 and riboflavin (vitamin B2)

                                                                1. re: guttergourmet

                                                                  U-Bet Chocolate Syrup -- Ingredients:

                                                                  Sugar and/or Corn Syrup, Water, Cocoa, Dry Milk Powder, Xanthan Gum, Vanillin (an artificial flavor), Salt, Preserved with Potassium Sorbate.

                                                                  Sure looks like there's some overlap with Yoo Hoo to me.

                                                                  1. re: a_and_w

                                                                    Yoo-Hoo? Where's the MILK? Ever notice that McDonald's calls them "shakes" rather than "milkshakes"?

                                                              2. re: small h

                                                                I agree with your assessment small h -- an egg cream tastes like fizzy yoo hoo. Maybe a little thicker and more chocolatey, but definitely in the same ballpark. Not sure what RGR and addictedtolunch are talking about.

                                                                1. re: a_and_w

                                                                  Thank you. I know I'm not crazy. In addition to both being chocolate-flavored, they both involve milk, they are both on the thinnish side, and they're both served at a similar temperature.

                                                                  1. re: small h

                                                                    but there is a flavor that is in the forefront of yoohoo that is nowhere to be found in an egg cream

                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                      That is true. What would you call it? Eau de Yoo? Fakiness? I know exactly what you mean.

                                                                    2. re: small h

                                                                      A properly made egg cream, like certain alcoholic drinks, manages to be a mixture but to retain the distinct qualities and separate "feel" of its ingredients on the palate. It has to be drunk immediately after being made, so that the chocolate (and to an extent the milk) never quite "feels" completely absorbed into the whole. A YooHoo is simply a completely homogenized chocolate drink that you can gulp down (only proper way to drink it) a year or 5 years after it is bottled.

                                                                      1. re: addictedtolunch

                                                                        FYI: Yogi Berra was one of the celebrity "owners" of Yoo Hoo. He would do advertisements "me he for Yoo Hoo!" and they used his picture on ads and bottles at some point.
                                                                        According to his latest biography Yogi was allergic to chocolate milk.

                                                                        1. re: addictedtolunch

                                                                          Well, obviously. But no one is saying they're identical, just that they're in the same ballpark. You can make a margarita the traditional way or you can use a crappy mix, but both are still margaritas.

                                                                2. re: therenowtoo

                                                                  This discussion about what an egg cream tastes like has actually been really interesting. The bottom line take away though is that clearly I need to try a few other options and see how they compare. FWIW, the yoo hoo comparison, whether accurate or not, doesn't really help me since I can't remember if I've ever had yoo hoo, and if I have, I was very young. So thanks for the additional suggestions for places to go everybody. I'll definitely be hitting them up when I get a chance!

                                                                3. I have tried a few of these places and enjoyed Gem Spa the best, but then again I go for the Vanilla egg cream.

                                                                  2 Replies