Celebrate the Cone
We've hand-picked the best ice cream spots uptown
Sunday, July 21 is National Ice Cream Day - but really, you don't need a special holiday to nudge you into indulging in summer's best dessert. Last year we taste-tested a slew of frosty treat purveyors throughout the Upper East and West Sides, focusing on little-known shops that may have escaped your radar in the heat-induced haze of summer. Here are some of our top picks.
Lexington Candy Shop
1226 Lexington Ave., 212-288-0057, lexingtoncandyshop.net
We tried: Vanilla sundae with chocolate sauce; $7.95.
This old-timey drugstore is about as authentic as it gets - they've been serving up sundaes, floats and shakes made with a vintage Hamilton Beach mixer at their Formica counter since 1925. It's a great place to take kids, as they can watch the friendly staff put together sundaes in glass dishes and revel in the hot fudge of it all. We tried a classic sundae with vanilla ice cream and warm chocolate sauce, topped with a cherry (they were out of whipped cream). The ice cream, while a bit frosty, held up incredibly well against the hot sauce, melting just enough to make a delicious concoction. It's a little pricey for basic ice cream, but considering that you're helping an outstanding Upper East Side establishment stay in business and absorbing a slice of old New York in the process, it's well worth it.
1498 1st Ave., 212-879-9557, sedutto78.com
We tried: Medium birthday cake ice cream with crushed Oreos; $6.25
Sedutto calls its birthday cake ice cream one of its most popular choices, and it's no wonder why. The ice cream, loaded with multicolored sprinkles and small pieces of white cake, will satisfy any sweet tooth. We stepped it up a notch by adding a pile of Oreo cookie crumbs on top, and if we closed our eyes, we thought we were eating cake and cookies. This is a hard ice cream selection, but that didn't prevent it from being creamy. The ice cream stays solid for a while and didn't melt significantly, even when we were almost finished with it. Other popular flavors at the shop, which also has a branch in Staten Island, include chocolate mint chip, cookies and cream, chocolate peanut butter hard yogurt and mocha chip fat-free hard yogurt. Sedutto even has an option for its older snackers: wine ice cream.
1900 Broadway, 212-595-0303, danielnyc.com/epicerie
We tried: Pistachio-black cherry swirl, one scoop; $3. Dark chocolate and blue lemonade, one scoop of each; $6
Start to finish, Épicerie Boulud is everything you would expect from Daniel Boulud. The décor is clean and modern, with the sleek gelato counter accessable from the sidewalk. The staff was friendly and, most importantly, the gelati were well-executed-creamy, flavorful and made with fresh ingredients. The pistachio-black cherry swirl, one of the most popular options, had the right balance of sweetness and nuttiness. Most surprising was the value. At $3 a scoop, you receive a sizeable portion of excellent gelato at the same price as an ice cream bar from a street vendor, making Épicerie Boulud well worth the trip.
2165 Broadway, 212-362-1837, grom.it/eng
We tried: One scoop each of dark chocolate, tiramisu and espresso bean gelato; one scoop of pink grapefruit sorbet; $8.25
The stark, clinical aesthetic of this Italian gelato emporium stands in odd contrast to the earth-hugger vibe the company brags about on the wall, proudly proclaiming their organic farm sourcing and recyclable and compostable materials. The flavors, too, belie the cold setting in their ingenuity and similarity to their namesakes. The dark chocolate gelato tastes exactly the way a premium chocolate bar would if it were somehow melted and frozen at the same time, with just a hint of bitterness. It's best enjoyed along side a creamy, sweet flavor like tiramisu. The espresso gelato delivers a welcome jolt, and the egg-custard-based Crema di Grom flavor is delicious, if a bit too rich for a whole heaping cup. The sorbet selection is fantastic if only for its verisimilitude - the pink grapefruit is spot on and incredibly refreshing.
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