The Fat Pants Friday Guide to Restaurant Ice Cream Carts
Cookshop's lemon curd ice cream.
The Fourth of July is nearly upon us, and few things are more American than the over-consumption of frozen dairy products. Last year, Fork in the Road ranked Our 10 Best Ice Creams and Other Frozen Treats, so this year, Fat Pants Friday has decided to celebrate our nation's independence and many expanding waistlines with a guide to the burgeoning number of restaurants with ice cream carts. So without further ado, here are the good, the bad, and the underwhelming, and where they fall on the Fat Pants scale.
The General Greene's salty caramel pretzel.
The General Greene. The DeKalb Avenue restaurant opened its cart last summer and quickly won a following for flavors like salted caramel pretzel, bitter chocolate mint, and Naughty Breakfast, a creation involving banana ice cream, bourbon-soaked raisins, and cereal. Owner Nicholas Morgenstern's ice cream is Philadelphia-style, meaning it doesn't contain any egg yolks. As a result, it's lighter and not quite as creamy as ice cream made with a crème anglaise base. Detractors may find it a little on the icy side, but we find it smooth and refreshing. The salted caramel and Naughty Breakfast in particular are excellent; both perfectly balance their salty-sweet components, and their mixed-in ingredients give them an addictive crunch. The cart's only drawback: It uses cake cones, not sugar cones. Two scoops are $5 and restrained enough to register only a Relaxed Fit on the FPF Scale. 229 DeKalb Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-222-1510
Hotel Griffou's salted caramel banana cream pie.
Hotel Griffou. Although Pete Wells was none too fond of its food and service, Hotel Griffou's ice cream isn't half-bad. The restaurant set up the cart at the beginning of June, and it sits on West 9th Street during the daytime, obscured by the shadows of the restaurant's awning. Three dollars and 50 cents will buy you a smallish scoop, plunked into a sugar cone by an indifferent server. The flavors are solid and fairly straightforward: Think watermelon sorbet, key lime pie, and strawberries and cream. The standout is the salted caramel banana cream pie: Much like the General Greene's, it achieves that ideal balance between salt and burnt sugar, with the bananas invoking memories of an after-school snack. It's not ice cream to change your life, or even induce you to cross rivers, but it's a pleasant way to spend 10 minutes on a sunny afternoon. Given the dainty scoops, it rates only a pair of Skinny Jeans on the FPF Scale. If you're feeling particularly flush, fork over $5.50 for a large. 21 West 9th Street, 212-358-0228