The 10 Best Ice Creams in NYC
The go-go yogurt craze (thankfully not the Go-Gurt craze) of the mid-'00s still hangs on, but like a double scoop of freedom with a patriotism swirl, ice cream is back on top. It's hard to find a more satisfying sweet treat in so simple a package, and once mix-ins get involved, a single scoop is often a better choice than some fully plated desserts. If barbecue is summer's savory calling, then ice cream is surely its sweet. Here are the 10 best in NYC.
Ample Hills Creamery Phin & Phebe's
10. Phin & Phebe's, available at Whole Foods and other local markets, check phinandphebes.com
Brooklyn DIY at its finest, this homemade experiment turned passionate hobby received such emphatic encouragement from friends, family, and an adoring public--including crowds at the Brooklyn Lyceum and Hester Street fairs--that owners Jess Eddy and Crista Freeman were all but forced into expanding. For now, you'll only find their charming flavors in the freezer aisle, but each of their seven varieties deliver focused expressions of what's on the label. Cinnamon props up a bright, smooth vanilla and vibrant banana ice cream turns chunks of Nilla wafers into pools of molten cookie. Best of all may be the Vietnamese coffee, which gets a boost of spice from chicory and cardamom. Diet be damned, the ice cream's lack of stabilizers to preserve integrity gives this treat a shorter window than its competitors, so it's best to indulge quickly.
9. Melt Bakery, 132 Orchard Street
Another Hester Street Fair success story, Melt has made it its mission to take ice cream sandwiches to new heights, and so far it has yet to let us down. With each menu change comes the reliable promise of inventive flavor combinations with a knack for nailing textures; for proof, see cream cheese ice cream stuffed into whoopee pies and oatmeal cookies paired with frosty buttercream. For the Zen, pliant ginger cookies brimming with the spicy rhizome bookend a gentle green tea ice cream, and the creaminess of the frozen puck tempers an otherwise aggressive ginger flavor. It achieves a balance worthy of its name. Still, our favorite would have to be the Morticia, which flirts with adult flavors like malted rum and dark chocolate cookies and results in something akin to an Ovaltine sandwich.
8. Malu, 12-09 Jackson Avenue, Queens
Born out of the still-smoldering ashes of the financial crisis, this new wave mom-and-pop shop takes customer suggestions and teams up with local restaurants for some of its many rotating flavors, resulting in cheeky combinations like shiraz rocky road and "Stoned Fruit", featuring an orchard's-worth of balsamic roasted peaches, plums, and apricots. Owners Jennifer Dudek and Sergio Garcia are so affable, it's that much more endearing to learn that they don't shy away from a challenge. See, for example, tomato basil sorbet and garlic ice cream, which were options for a time. Should you see it listed, the Cookie Monster is a must-try with its chunks of chocolate, chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate wafers nestled like gems in a creamy vanilla bedrock and a hefty vein of soft fudge.