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Morgenstern's Finest Ice Cream?

Anyone check out this new place? There was quite a crowd in there when I walked past Friday afternoon.

http://www.morgensternsnyc.com ... http://ny.eater.com/archives/2014/05/...

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  1. Maybe it's my lack of a serious sweet tooth, but those prices - yeesh. $18 for a banana split!

    3 Replies
    1. re: JeffOverley

      You'd pay just as much (or more) at many NYC restaurants during dessert service.

      Heck, even the sundaes at Serendipity3 are $15.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        Hey, if it sounds reasonable to you, have at it. All I'm saying is that the pricing seems very steep - this picture of the banana split doesn't tempt me to spend $18+tax, even if the flavors are presumed to be excellent.


        1. re: JeffOverley

          The pricing is the same as it was at General Greene, $8 for 3 scoops of pretty great ice cream.

    2. From the website: We are focused on serving texture-driven small-batch ice cream with a renewed attention to flavor and palate...My ice cream is made with the utmost attention to detail. I choose natural ingredients that I can rely on. They speak for themselves. I simply help guide them by taking the care and time needed to cultivate the best possible end product.

      From small h: Shut the fuck up.

      I do like the idea of Vietnamese coffee ice cream, though. Color me conflicted.

      1 Reply
      1. The Salted Caramel Pretzel sounded good until I noticed it's $13!!!

        16 Replies
        1. re: ellenost

          You do realize it's a big sundae, not just a pretzel, I assume. The prices are less than Serendipity3 and more than Sugar & Plumm, although presumably, the flavors are much better.

          Like small h, I could have done without the mission statement on the website. To say the least.

          1. re: Dave Feldman

            When I grew up in Sheepshead Bay Brooklyn there was an ice cream parlour called Jahn's that had some ice cream monstrosity called the "Kitchen Sink" that must have had a gallon size scoops of ice cream with all the sundae fixings that groups of people would eat sitting at a table.

            I don't care if this Salted Caramel Pretzel is as large as the "Kitchen Sink", after eating anything more than 8 oz. of ice cream the rest is going to be in the trash.

            Sounds like I'll stick with a 2 scoop cup.

            1. re: ellenost

              We also had Jahn's in Queens, in Rego Park. They would ring a bell whenever the Kitchen Sink was ordered. Good times!

              1. re: ellenost

                I learned an alternate way to make egg creams at Jahn's, i.e. without a white head. I still make them that way, even though they're not as pretty as those with contrast.

              2. re: Dave Feldman

                Why? It's an honest statement... I'd hope that everyone here wants their food to live up to those standards, so what's wrong with putting that out there? FWIW, Nick is about the most unpretentious guy you'll ever meet.

                1. re: loratliff

                  Here's just the first paragraph of the "About" section. Maybe it's just badly written (e.g., skipping back and forth between first- and third-person, acting like no one else is doing similar things -- what else can "entirely original" possibly mean?) -- but it has bothered at least two of us, and I have no reason not to want it to be great. I love the approach, particularly not equating premium ice cream with high levels of butterfat. I hope it's a success.
                  "Morgenstern's Finest Ice Cream is a contemporary twist on the traditional ice cream parlor. We are focused on serving texture-driven small-batch ice cream with a renewed attention to flavor and palate. Owner and founder Nicholas Morgenstern develops his recipes specifically for each individual flavor. The integrity of his ingredients are never compromised with additives or processed stabilizing. "My ice cream is made with the utmost attention to detail. I choose natural ingredients that I can rely on. They speak for themselves. I simply help guide them by taking the care and time needed to cultivate the best possible end product." With this hands-on approach, Morgenstern's looks to change the way people eat and think about this nostalgiac treat, by giving ice cream lovers an entirely original and contemporary ice cream experience."

                  1. re: Dave Feldman

                    Isn't that a quotation when it's in first person?

                    You're right, he's not the only one doing it, but likewise he's also not he only one putting up that kind of mission statement. I mean, NY is a city where one of it's most popular ice cream newcomers was serving a generic truck soft serve up until a year ago.

                    Now at $4 a scoop, it better be insanely good.

                    1. re: sugartoof

                      Yes, the part of the statement in quotes is what I indicated, starting with "My ice cream..."

                      I assume you are referring to the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. Are you implying that they weren't ambitious because they worked from a truck? I don't think they ever after the same goals asMorgenstern's. Compare: http://biggayicecream.com/about/

                      1. re: Dave Feldman

                        Big Gay Ice Cream was almost entirely ambition, so no, that's not at all what I was saying. But few took issue with them opening a store to simply crumble cookies and drizzle olive oil on something Mister Softee like, preservative filled, and factory processed. Even they had some mission statement with some schtick about sustainable sourcing.

                        You see, while I get how it reads as grandiose (it is marketing, after all) I don't view this as a hollow mission statement. NY is still playing catch up.

                      2. re: sugartoof

                        It's way better than BGI, nothing against them though.

                        1. re: Peter Cuce

                          based on General Greene, or have you actually been to Morgenstern's? Because I'd love to actually hear from someone who's been on this thread...

                        2. re: sugartoof

                          "Now at $4 a scoop, it better be insanely good."

                          Not sure how $4 a scoop could be considered out of line for Manhattan. That is about on par for what you pay for crappy industrial frozen yogurt here on the West Coast and not much more than I recently paid for a scoop of Ben & Jerry's at JFK. (I think my ice cream at the airport was only cheaper because I had a "child's scoop.")

                          1. re: omotosando

                            You can get a gourmet scoop for $3-$3.50 and sundaes at $6 pretty easily on the West Coast.

                            I didn't call it out of line anyway, but the taste better be worth it if you're in the territory of making those crazy $9-11 pints of Jeni's look economical.

                            1. re: sugartoof

                              Of course pints will look economical compared to a scoop shop....

                              But in any event, any food, to the person eating it, should be worth what you paid for it. If you haven't been, why isn't the commentary "wow, they must think their product is really good, or people really want good ice cream, to be able to charge that much?"

                              The cynicism with lack of data is exhausting.

                              1. re: valcfield

                                I like my phrasing better. "Now at $4 a scoop, it better be insanely good." Cynical? We're saying the same thing.

                                But no, I don't think $4 is automatically justified.
                                Hence the mission statements explaining the quality, etc.

                2. His ice cream was very good at General Greene. One of my faves back then.

                  1. So, now i am going to have to investigate the vegan coconut almond soft serve....!! (I love dairy but it doesn't love me)
                    The by the scoop prices look on par with shops that are similar....

                    1. I hope its not overly sweet. I tried oddfellows the other night and couldnt take more than two bites because of the sweetness.

                      21 Replies
                      1. re: Shirang

                        Agree, but it really depends on the flavor at Oddfellows.

                        1. re: Shirang

                          We went to Oddfellows last night and what we had was not particulalarly sweet - burnt caramel, miso cherry, tarragon lime sorbet. Nor was the very good "ants on a log" - celery sorbet studded with raisins and just a little PB. Really interesting and good.Just ate in cups -no cones. KId's servings are a good alterrnative if you want the taste and less expense.

                          More on topic for this thread, we liked the icecream when served at General Greene's. Worth a try.

                          More on topic for this thread, we liked

                          1. re: jen kalb

                            caramel, miso cherry, tarragon lime sorbet, and celery all sound like good reminders to get back to Oddfellows ASAP, but they also sound like good flavors if you want to avoid "too sweet". Something like the buttermilk blueberry or burnt marshmallow have a sweet kick that deserves a really sweet disclaimer.

                            1. re: sugartoof

                              I went back again. Just way too sweet for me personally. I tried the miso cherry, and rum raisin the first time, on return I tried thai tea and buttermilk honey blueberry. Just for reference, the level of sweetness I like is around Van Leeuwen, Il Laboratorio, Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, Sundaes and Cones, Daveys, Grom, Victory Garden, Milk Bar. I guess I would rate my sweet tolerance level as "Asian"

                              1. re: Shirang

                                I personally find Chinatown Ice Cream, Davey's (though my experience there is limited) and Milk Bar to be much sweeter. I have a feeling it's not just sweetness, but the texture too...it's very, very rich.

                                The best comparison in terms of sweetness might be Shake Shack, only with less distribution of flavoring.

                                1. re: Shirang

                                  It's scary to me when I find myself agreeing with Sugartoof, but not only is CIF sweeter to me, most of their ice cream is artificial tasting and not true-to-flavor. Morgenstern's does have some overly sweet flavors but definitely not everything. I've been a bunch of times and have settled on a handful of favorite flavors including bitter chocolate, luxardo cherry and durian banana. One time everything had a kind of slimy mouthfeel but that was an isolated experience. I also think Davey's is far sweeter as well. And Milk Bar wins the crown with over-the-top sweetness across the board.

                                  1. re: Peter Cuce

                                    Maybe its is the richness or texture. When I had the miso I felt like I was eating spoonfuls of plain mugi miso out of the bag which is sweet anyway. Usually if its too sweet I will finish it anyway, but this is the first time in my life I threw out ice cream after 2 spoonfuls. Daveys I found the vanilla, mango sorbet too sweet but the cookies and cream, chocolate, pistachio was just right for me personally. I only get the cereal milk at milk bar, I find everything else chalky like the sweet summer corn.

                                    1. re: Shirang

                                      Thanks for the clarification. It sounds like the flavors you chose at Morgenstern's would tend to be among the sweeter ones anyway. I've definitely had ice cream there that I found too sweet, but I like the generally spot-on flavors without any artificial tinges. I think his Philadelphia style ice cream, without eggs, does just what he says it does, allows the flavors to reveal themselves without too much heaviness to bog you down. If he could lean toward the less sweet side it would be even better.

                                      1. re: Shirang

                                        " I felt like I was eating spoonfuls of plain mugi miso out of the bag "

                                        You probably were. Didn't they just scoop a spoonful up into their base ice cream?

                                        I wish Morgenstern had a smaller kids size.

                                        1. re: sugartoof

                                          They do have a Kids Menu, but I have no idea about the size. It's only 25 cents cheaper. https://static.squarespace.com/static...

                                      2. re: Peter Cuce

                                        Everything at Milk Bar is so sweet it tastes vile to me. I don't understand the popularity/hype at all.

                                      3. re: Shirang

                                        I was just at victory gardens this afternoon and they had a soft serve named "vg herbal" that was not sweet at all! Very mild goatsmilk-y flavor, no sugar i could taste, with a ton of herbs; thyme, rosemary, bergamont, lavendar, and a few others i don't remember. Not sure if they have this flavor all the time or not but it was really interesting.

                                        1. re: Ttrockwood

                                          That sounds nice. I had something along those lines at Hay Rosie in Brooklyn a week or so ago - tomato & feta swirl with a hint of basil. Sweet and savory, but not too sweet. I went back two more times. The second visit, strangely, I had ice cream similar to a recent visit at Morgenstern's, where there was a slimy mouthfeel at the end - maybe this is endemic to ice cream when it's stored incorrectly or at the wrong temperature or something. But the last visit they had another sweet/savory item that I found compelling: fennel pollen, lemon zest & goat cheese. I like this trend and look forward to more reports along those lines.

                                          1. re: Peter Cuce

                                            Ah! That tomato basil sounds SO GOOD!! Sounds like i need to make a field trip to brooklyn.....

                                          2. re: Ttrockwood

                                            Victory Garden's herb flavor is on their normal rotation, but it seems to me they change up the blend here and there. It's subtle but it's usually got some sweetness to it as opposed to a sour yogurt base, or an entirely savory soft serve. I love it.

                                            1. re: sugartoof

                                              I tried their sour flavor and it was way too tangy for me (i never was a fan of the pinkberry kind of tangy yogurt) and their salted caramel was so sweet the taster cup was more than enough. And then the herbal flavor was juuusssst right :)
                                              Haha, very goldilocks....

                                              Maybe we need a savory ice cream and yogurt thread.... (I'm loving the carrot yogurt from blue hill lately)

                                                1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                  Victory Garden is definitely a little more Pinkberry at times than most soft serve ice creams. I don't remember the salted caramel being overly sweet, but I also think the taster cup is plenty. For such a standard flavor, it's a really difficult one to get right. The herbal flavor is beautiful in that it has some depth, and different bites bring out different flavors. It's also a refreshing palate cleanser.

                                                  It's great to see NY coming into their own with savory ice cream.

                                                  Does Blue Hill have a cart or must you dine their to get some?

                                                  1. re: sugartoof

                                                    No, even better! The yogurt is for sale at whole foods, fairway, a few others...
                                                    I wasn't loving the butternut squash, but the carrot, beet, and tomato are really good...! (Can't find the parsnip)

                                                    1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                      I really like the butternut squash FWIW

                                      1. fwiw, i bought someone a double scoop (fernet black walnut/durian-banana) from there yesterday, and she said it was the best icecream she'd ever had...(i tried a tiny bite of the walnut and it seemed good, but as i'm not a dessert guy, i can't really weigh in)...

                                        1. I was there yesterday, two average size scoops in a cup $6. Chocolate cherry and coffee caramel. Good, not as good as my long time favorite Il Lab but I enjoyed the ice cream. Coffee caramel a bit grainey and the scoop of chocolate had two huge pieces, in relation to the scoop, of cherry.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: stuartlafonda

                                            Thanks for the report. I'm delighted to stick with Il Laboratorio, in that case.

                                          2. I had 2 scoops a few weekends ago: Black ass licorice, and the salted pretzel. I found the salted pretzel grainy with a strange texture, but the black ass licorice was very nice and not too strong. If you're an ouzo, anise or licorice fan, this is the scoop for you! I loved it.

                                            I didn't look over the glass to see how the salted pretzel was scooped/prepared - can anyone chime in? Are the pretzels added to order? Maybe that would explain the strange grainy texture..

                                            If in the area and there aren't lineups, I would stop by again.. but wouldn't make a special trek out for it.

                                            1. Finally made it there.

                                              I will start with the good. They have a housemade peppermint soda. It is basically a seltzer with some sweetness and some peppermint and it is the single best thing I have had to eat on this trip to NYC, and one of the best things I have had this year period. I also tried the pomegranate soda and that one did not wow me.

                                              On to the ice cream. Don't want to judge the place because perhaps I ordered wrong, but I did not enjoy the green tea pistachio ice cream. I have had amazing homemade green tea ice cream and this was not it. When I was there on a Wednesday afternoon, the average age of the customers was 18, give or take (not sure if this is typical), and I was wondering if perhaps the owner thought his clientele was not sophisticated enough to appreciate real green tea ice cream, so he dumbed it down. There were a few 10 years in the shop as well, and this was basically green tea ice cream for 10 year olds.

                                              The place was uncomfortably packed at 3:00 pm on a hot Wednesday afternoon. I don't advise going if you don't like crowds. It took about 15 minutes to get my order after I placed it because of the crowds, and the only place to wait are a few stools and four very uncomfortable bench seats. The bench seats all have attached desks (like the ones you sat in in grade school) and I can't imagine anyone overweight squeezing into one of the tiny bench seats. Yes it is ironic that you need to be thin to fit into the seat to wait for your ice cream. Also ironic that most of the customers looked anorexic, although perhaps that has something to do with the median age of the clientele when I went being 18 (good metabolism at that age).

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: omotosando

                                                Depends, but there's certainly a breed of New York kids that are yuppie spawn, hanging around the pricey ice cream parlors with sophisticated palates.

                                                Thanks for the peppermint soda tip.

                                                1. re: omotosando

                                                  It's not always crowded and the customers are more often adults but it's pretty obvious that kids like ice cream, so that's going to happen. I guess I don't find the seating as uncomfortable as you do. It's misleading to say that is the only place to wait. The places available to wait are the seats that aren't taken, which could be one of the 9 or 10 bar stools, the bench seats, or standing.

                                                2. One major detail nobody has mentioned about this place (at least in this thread), is that some (if not all?) of their flavors are mix-ins. I'm not sure if there's more than one base they use, but what I've had there was heavy custard-cream for the base with the flavorings taken out of the jars lined up and mixed in to order. It means the flavors aren't baked in and settled, they're toppings, and swirls, and it does melt pretty quick.