The Wild and Wacky Flavors of Laboratorio del Gelato
Now that Laboratorio is in its new digs on Houston Street, steps away from Katz's Deli, we can realize just how wonderful their oddest flavors can be. In the old place on Orchard, maybe there were plenty of off-the-wall selections, but we never knew, since only five or six flavors were available by the scoop each day.
The place still looks like a chemical engineering pilot plant, but now the facility is fronted by a mile-long freezer case that can accommodate three dozen flavors at once. The profundity of the gastronomic experimentation going on is on display for all to see. And, in two weeks of sucking gelato (at $3.50 per small cup, which can hold small scoops of two flavors), Fork in the Road has thought up some pretty wild combos.
Tarragon pink pepper and Thai chili chocolate make a great pair. The former is mildly licorice-y, with the otherworldly burn that pink peppercorns -- botanically unrelated to black or white peppercorns -- confer. But that burn is minimal compared with the one produced by Thai bird chiles, which leave a lingering sizzle long after the rich chocolate flavor evaporates. Yet there's a lingering sense that the chocolate has helped to mollify the chiles.