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Ice cream!!!

Ice cream is basically my favorite food...I make my own and actually want to open up my own place at some point. I'm coming up to NYC for my 40th b-day and am hoping for some recommendations for unique, gotta-try ice cream/gelato shops in Manhattan.

Thanks!

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  1. For gelato, definitely try Grom, Screme, L'Arte del Gelato, and il Laboratorio del Gelato. the olive oil gelato at Otto should definitely be on your list, as well. on the Upper West Side, an italian donut shop named Bombolini serves a delicious Fresh Basil gelato during spring and summer. not sure when they'll start serving it again. for what it's worth, i don't like anything else there.

    as for ice cream, i don't think this is something that New York does especially well. i've had memorable floats at Ronnybrook in Chelsea Market, but other than that, nothing stands out beyond Ben & Jerry's scoop shop in Times Square.

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    L'Arte del Gelato
    75 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014

    Otto
    1 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003

    Ronnybrook Milk Bar
    75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

    Screme
    2030 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

    Bomboloni
    187 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10023

    Il Laboratorio del Gelato
    188 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002

    11 Replies
    1. re: coasts

      Bombolini has a good flour gelato, as well.

      1. re: FoodDabbler

        that's got me curious. do you know if they're serving it now?

        1. re: coasts

          Don't know. I had it there last year. It's basically milk mixed with flour, cooked briefly and frozen, just as rice gelato is milk mixed with rice and frozen. These sorts of things are not popular in the U.S. (what, no chocolate? ) so Bomboloni may not regularly carry it, just as il Laboratorio does not regularly carry rice. (I'm enough of a frozen confection crazy to have il Lab. put aside special flavors for me as they make them, and have had their olive oil, etc., this way, but have never had their rice -- they make it too rarely.)

          To the OP: I, too, endorse the places Coasts mentions, along with Shake Shack's special flavors of custard (plus their terrific daily vanilla). The Chinatown Ice Cream Factory stuff is more problematic for me. I've eaten their ice cream a lot, mainly 2--3 decades ago, but also a little more recently. I want to continue loving them the way I used to, but there are so many better options in New York now.

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          Shake Shack
          Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

          1. re: coasts

            I was there last week, and they didn't have it. The young women working there hadn't heard of it either. Initially there was some communication confusion. I asked if they had their flour gelato. They asked "what kind of flour?" For a few wild moments I contemplated a situation where you could get rye gelato, whole wheat, barley, etc. Then I realized they thought I meant "flower". After we cleared that up they said they hadn't seen it, but if it was last year (it was) they wouldn't know.

          2. re: FoodDabbler

            Bombolini [sic] has a good flour gelato, as well.
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            "flour" gelato? is it corn flour?

          3. re: coasts

            2nd Grom, L'Arte, Il Lab, Otto, Ronnybrook. Would add on Sundaes & Cones for Asian inspired flavors. Shake Shack for Midwestern style custard.

            Might also want to get some Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory (I know Clinton St Baking Co does sundaes with them).

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            Grom
            233 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

            1. re: kathryn

              OP, where are you coming from BTW? Just want to note that Emack & Bolio is a chain as well as Vosges, but I don't know if they're available in your hometown.

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              Emack & Bolio's
              73 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

              1. re: kathryn

                Coming from NC...special trip for my 40th, culinary exploration of NYC. I used to live in Boston (some of the best ice cream ever), so I know E & B well.

                Thanks for all the recs!

                1. re: michalco1

                  I also used to live in Boston, and I think you'll find the ice cream here is not quite as good as up there, but the gelato is where NYC really shines.

            2. re: coasts

              +1 here on Grom, L'Arte del Gelato, Il Laboratorio and Otto.
              -1 here on Ronnybrook. ice cream there never rocked my boat.

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              Grom
              233 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

            3. Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is a must-try for their unique flavors, such as taro, red bean, and even durian. NYC Icy is a spot that definitely has a location in Brooklyn, and has a location in EVill that I think closed for the winter but may be open again. They have some fantastic flavors of "icy" and "cream icy" (kind of like sorbet and sherbert) Holey Cream in Hells Kitchen has standard ice cream and frogurt (a brand of frozen yogurt that is far better than other options, IMHO) but also has a case with their homemade gelatos, with everything from cinnamon to pretzel flavor. I would also second many of the gelato places listed by coasts.
              Finally, consider one of the ice cream trucks: Van Leeuwen with artisanal ice creams, or you can try the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck just to say you did. At the latter, the ice cream is standard mister softee, but some of the toppings are excellent if you like fun flavor combinations (ie curry and ginger)

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              Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
              65 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

              Holey Cream
              796 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

              16 Replies
              1. re: orthorunner

                I definitely second both Chinatown Ice Cream Factory and Holey Cream, if only for the experience.

                Also for the experience you might try Lulu and Mooky's on the Lower East Side, http://www.yelp.com/biz/lulu-and-mook... . Individual portions of ice cream made on your order (and therefore offering myriad flavors) by mixing cream, flavor and liquid nitrogen. Caveat: I haven't been there since last summer, so am *hoping* they're still there.....

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                Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
                65 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

                Holey Cream
                796 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                1. re: orthorunner

                  the big gay ice cream truck/shop has the most amazing ice cream concoction ive ever eaten (pun completely intended). get the monday sundae. you'll sh*t rainbows.

                  -----
                  Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
                  125 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                  1. re: ssl5b

                    what is it? are they still using a mister softee base?

                    1. re: sugartoof

                      chocolate and vanilla twist in a waffle cone lined with nutella and layered with caramel and sea salt. topped with whipped cream if you desire. the soft serve acts as the perfect base for the toppings/extras.

                      if you're looking for non-soft serve ice cream (depending on your definition), i find the cherry pistachio gelato at epicerie quite memorable.

                      1. re: ssl5b

                        Thanks. I like soft serve, I'm just hoping they break away from the formula of using interesting toppings on the prefab ice cream truck/snack bar grade ice cream.

                        1. re: sugartoof

                          This is my issue as well. I seek out soft serve from small independent shops around the country -- I had some excellent vanilla in Litchfield and Meriden, Ct last month. However, I do not like the taste or texture of Mr. Softee. I was hoping that the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop would produce its own base.

                          -----
                          Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
                          125 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                          1. re: Nancy S.

                            I think they're trying to follow in the footsteps of some West Coast shops that have openly taken to adapting a base from a local organic milk producer. Putting Nutella spread on MIster Softee isn't the same thing, or all that impressive.

                        2. re: ssl5b

                          well, what would you suggest to being better soft serve in the nyc area? based on my experience, it's the best soft serve i've ever had, but im also partial to super creamy ice cream. and this does mark the first time ive had nutella on soft serve.

                          1. re: ssl5b

                            Lucky for you, the best ice cream you've ever had is served out of half the franchised ice cream trucks in the city.

                            I think Victory Garden's goat's milk soft serve is superior.

                            I'd also venture to say most any soft serve available that's made in house is going to taste above and beyond junk food soft serve from a franchise. It's the exact opposite of using an artisanal, locally sourced product with chemically free milk. Mr. Softee actually adds thickeners, preservatives, artificial flavors, and a lot of air pumped in. All the truck was doing was throwing up a rainbow logo, and selling the exact same ice cream the truck sold the rest of the week when it was a normal truck, only with the addition of creative toppings.

                            Think of it as someone using KFC or Popeyes chicken, and then putting locally sourced rooftop beehive honey on top, or taking Mcdonald's and putting Heirloom Tomatoes on it. Then again, it's not even that impressive - Nutella comes from a jar.

                            -----
                            Victory Garden
                            31 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014

                            1. re: sugartoof

                              thanks for the recommendation. ill definitely try Victory Garden's soft serve. i do love goat milk.

                              on another note, it's a bit presumptuous of you to go on this long diatribe about mr. frostee without actually confirming whether or not big gay actually uses mr. softee. i havent had mr. softee in years, so if that's what it tastes like now then i am, as you said, in luck. anyway, my original recommendation is not for the soft serve but the mondae sunday, which it sounds like youve never tried.

                              -----
                              Victory Garden
                              31 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014

                              1. re: ssl5b

                                I've had Big Gay Ice Cream trucks cones, and other items, and they all use the same generic truck ice cream. I've followed his twitter feed, and it's clear his truck was a leased time share, not privately owned. Meaning it was a standard truck, and he merely offered up a clever menu of topping additions.

                                It doesn't appear they're making their own in house ice cream.

                                Please let us know if you find out otherwise.

                                -----
                                Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
                                125 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                            2. re: ssl5b

                              Chikalicious has the best vanilla soft serve I've ever had. It tastes like real vanilla bean!

                              Victory Garden is good but they only have 4 flavors a day and often none of them appeal to me if the salted caramel isn't one of them.

                              Here's what their web site says right now:

                              Chocolate Rosemary
                              Victory Garden Spice: Spices from Far & Wide
                              Queen of Persia: Rose, Saffron, & Cardamom
                              Victory Garden Herbal: An Array of Market Herbs with Floral Touches
                              Apple Caramel Cheesecake: Caramel Swirl & Apple Topping
                              Plum Spice Cheesecake: Hint of Anise & Stewed Plum Topping
                              Quince, Rose, & Cinnamon Cheesecake

                              Note that they'll only have 4 of the above at a time. If I'm not in a spice or floral mood sometimes, I'll skip it.

                              -----
                              ChikaLicious
                              203 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003

                              Victory Garden
                              31 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014

                              1. re: kathryn

                                I very much wanted to like Chikalicious, but I was disappointed -- although the vanilla was prominent, I did not like the texture of the ice cream or the taste -- it tasted too whipped to me, like over-beaten cream that begins to turn into butter. I am still searching for the perfect vanilla, in any form -- either gelato, ice cream, custard or soft-serve.

                                -----
                                ChikaLicious
                                203 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003

                                1. re: Nancy S.

                                  Any thoughts on the Home-Made Madagascar Vanilla at Takashi?

                                  Do you not like the vanilla custard at Shake Shack?

                                  1. re: kathryn

                                    Nancy doesn't seem to be enthralled by it: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7991...

                                    I like it myself.

                                    1. re: kathryn

                                      I wanted so much to like the custard, especially after Shake Shack opened on 86th Street (not far from my apartment), but I didn't feel that the vanilla had a strong enough presence, although I did like the texture. Maybe I should try again? However, I so very much hate the fact that the greasy smells from Shack Shack have completely polluted the south side of 86th Street from Lex. to Third that I'm reluctant to enter the space. (As an aside, this exemplifies Danny Meyer's brilliant PR strategy by telling the Times that the odor was intentional. I guess the same intention was planned for MoMA, where the smell of the in-museum restaurant permeates the escalators -- I hate to think what all the ambient grease does to the art.)

                                      -----
                                      Shake Shack
                                      154 East 86th Street, New York, NY 10028

                        1. re: Cheese Boy

                          Vosges has a curry and a chocolate pandan ice cream

                          -----
                          Vosges Haut-Chocolat
                          132 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                        2. If frozen custard is of interest, I'd put in a recommendation on Shake Shack. I've been enjoying my picks of the Custard-of-the-Day whenever I'm there.

                          1. You should try Cones in the Village.

                            -----
                            Cones
                            272 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: ellenost

                              i always stare at this place while waiting outside at Keste. do they serve anything odd?

                              1. re: coasts

                                Just great gelato. Corn is excellent. They're very nice and will provide tastes if you're not sure which flavor(s) to get--I always get 2 flavors.

                                1. re: coasts

                                  They also softserve those who only stand and stare.

                                  Actually, they don't. What will it take to make you take the plunge? The presence of odd things on the list of flavors, or their absence?

                                  1. re: FoodDabbler

                                    i don't crave ice cream too often, but something like flour or corn would motivate me to make a special trip. otherwise, i'd rather have a cookie any day of the week. fortunately, or unfortunately, i pass Levain, Bouchon and Milk Bar almost every day of the week.

                                    1. re: coasts

                                      I liked the wasabi gelato at Sundaes and Cones.

                                      -----
                                      Sundaes and Cones
                                      95 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003

                                      1. re: coasts

                                        Between Levain and Milk Bar it's a long enough walk that you can eat a cookie from one of these places every day. You are blessed among humans.

                                        1. re: coasts

                                          I'm the same way, but Cones is actually surprisingly good ice cream. This fall, they had a Johnnie Walker Black Label flavor that was delicious and their pistachio is one of the best I've ever tasted.

                                      2. re: coasts

                                        "do they serve anything odd?"

                                        Nothing way out there in the exotic or savory department, but yes, they have some oddball flavors. Less unique today as they were many years ago when they actually stood out for having different flavors, but you can expect something like a watermelon sorbet as opposed to rosemary carrot cake.

                                    2. some of the comments here reminded me of Koryodang's patbingsu.

                                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patbingsu

                                      -----
                                      Koryodang
                                      31 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

                                      8 Replies
                                        1. re: FoodDabbler

                                          nope. where to get it? i've had and don't care for bubble tea, if that's relevant.

                                          1. re: coasts

                                            Persepolis, an Iranian restaurant on the UES, serves faloodeh. It's been ages since I was last there, and I have memories of it being too frozen/ not slushy enough, but in the absence of other options...

                                            I'll be the dissenting voice on Cones-- too sweet for my taste (though I enjoy the texture of their corn gelato).

                                            -----
                                            Persepolis
                                            1407 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10021

                                            1. re: rose water

                                              So, the Iranian version is different than the Indian FoodDabbler describes below-- rose water slushy, with wonderful chewy frozen noodles, no basil seeds, served traditionally with sour cherry syrup and lemon juice to add to taste. Can be combined with rose watery saffron ice cream (makhloot, or mixed) but doesn't have to be

                                              1. re: rose water

                                                Faloodeh is not Falooda, although it may be its father.

                                              2. re: coasts

                                                What do you not like about bubble tea? Your falooda happiness depends on your answer.

                                                The ingredients in falooda vary a bit, but in standard Indian versions you'll have rose flavored milk, cornstarch noodles, basil seeds plumped in water till they are translucent and gelatinous (yet small), a little crushed ice and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It's hard to get in the U.S. I can't, off hand, think of a place that has a good version, or, in fact, any version. I have some distant memory of having had a passable one either at Sukhadias (45th, between 5th and 6th), or at Vatan (3rd, around 29th), but I may just be fantasizing.

                                                -----
                                                Vatan
                                                409 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10016

                                                1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                  oh man, it has to be five years or more since i've had a bubble tea. i don't care for the tapioca balls, mainly because of the consistency. i'd drink one, but wouldn't seek it out.

                                                  1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                    Sukhadia's closed in December.

                                                    -----
                                                    Sukhadia's
                                                    17 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036

                                            2. For gelato, I prefer the chocolate from Grom, and the variety of flavors at L'Arte (the mascarpone is great). Il Lab is great too but it's more out of the way so I don't have it too often. The only olive oil gelato I've ever liked is Otto's, and it is crazy good.

                                              For ice cream, Emack and Bolio's is great. Vosges has some excellent flavors, but they only sell about four at a time, IIRC, so if you prefer a variety of flavors it might not be the best option. If you're near Rock Ctr, find La Maison du Chocolat (it's up the street from the Today studio) for their excellent chocolate ice cream. There's also a Ben and Jerry's inside 30 Rock on the lower level if you'd prefer that.

                                              -----
                                              La Maison du Chocolat
                                              30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10020

                                              Grom
                                              233 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                                              Ben & Jerry's
                                              30 Rockefeller Plz, New York, NY 10112

                                              1. For straight up ice cream, as opposed to gelato, I love Sundaes and Cones (reference to Kathryn and Ellenost). The wasabi flavor is interesting; the black sesame is really, really good. Unlike Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (where I've had icy / ice crystal-y ice cream on many occasions), texture has never been off for me at Sundaes and Cones. Sundaes and Cones's ice cream is as creamy as it ought to be and served at a good temperature.

                                                If gelato's included in the mix, L'Arte and Il Lab (reference to Coasts) are both very good and often have interesting flavors.

                                                -----
                                                Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
                                                65 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

                                                Sundaes and Cones
                                                95 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003

                                                1. In addition to all the great recs already in this thread (olive oil gelato at Otto - amazing), I really like the wicked hot chocolate ice cream from Jacques Torres. I'm not sure they have their ice creams year round, though (it may just be seasonal).

                                                  -----
                                                  Jacques Torres
                                                  350 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: LNG212

                                                    They do have the ice cream sandwiches. I'm not sure if all the locations carry them, but the strawberry flavor is particularly good.

                                                    1. re: sugartoof

                                                      Strawberry, huh? You know, going to JTorres I've never thought to try anything besides chocolate. I'll have to check that one out (esp. because DH doesn't eat chocolate). Thanks.

                                                      1. re: LNG212

                                                        I like their vanilla as well, but strawberry was just a really good version of a flavor I normally wouldn't think to order either. It's a creamy version, but thankfully doesn't taste like Nestle quick.

                                                        I'm not sure the chocolate quality translates there the way it does somewhere like Godiva, where the chocolate tastes signature, in any format.