All I’ve been hearing about since last summer (besides the Iphone 4) is the General Greene’s ice cream cart. It was built from local tools and parts by chef Nicholas Morgenstein. So of course, that was a brilliant marketing tool for the restaurant. And then the accolades for the ice cream itself started pouring in. And before you know it, one of the flavors ended up on the Time Out list. And coincidentally, I started searching for the best ice cream in the city. So finally, I had a some legitimate reasons to come out to Fort Greene and try the ice cream.
It was a rainy day so we didn’t really get to take advantage of the cart. It was out and people were stopping by ordering the treats, dripping wet. Since we were hungry, we decided to make lunch out of it and eat inside their cute, general store type restaurant. And they assured us they served the ice cream inside as well. Perfect.
Except the food was pretty awful. The salad we ordered for $12 was one of the weakest I’ve ever had. It was served with avocado, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, radishes. It sounded good with lots of fresh ingredients. And it was called a chopped salad, so maybe I should have expected this, but every component was diced to the exact same size. Even the avocado. There was no creativity whatsoever and the ingredients were all rather limp. The lettuce was only romaine and sort of brown. And the lemon vinaigrette had no complexity or kick to it. I think it was literally just olive oil, lemon juice, and balsamic. Maybe it needed some sweetness or seasoning? Something!
We also got the egg and gruyere sandwich, which fared a little better. It reminded me of a microwaved fast food egg sandwich (which can work well when done right). The egg was molded. The cheese was hard to find, but thankfully there was some flavor from the mustard aioli. This was at least edible and slightly enjoyable.
With all these failures, does the ice cream stand a chance? I was getting more and more nervous.
We ordered the “Salted Caramel Pretzel Ice Cream” and the waitress asked if I meant a sundae. I wasn’t sure. My impression was that all the ingredients were mixed together into a single flavor. Salted Caramel Pretzel. Maybe that’s how they do it out on the cart (although I’d think they’d have less resources out there in the rain), but what I ended up with was a cup of the salted caramel ice cream, whipped cream, caramel sauce, and some crushed pretzels garnished on top.
This didn’t seem right exactly. But who was I to say no to a caramel sundae?
And it was sweet, cooling, and fantastic. I do think the pretzels should have been mixed in better because they were all on top (and they added texture and more saltiness to the ice cream) and shortly into the sundae, they were gone. The ice cream itself was well-balanced – not too salty and not too sweet. The flavors worked well together and the texture was smooth and soft.
I’m sorry I didn’t get to experience the cart itself. That just means I need to make another trip out here and try some of their other interesting flavors. So Chef Morgenstein can build a sturdy cart and he can put together some great ice cream. Now he just needs to work on constructing some good savory food. And can he do something about the rain while he’s at it?
Would The General Greene’s Salted Caramel Pretzel Ice Cream make my Top 100 of the year? The ice cream and all its components were very successful and get an 8 out of 10. The lunch items are a different story entirely.
Is The General Greene the best ice cream in NY? I’d like to try a wider range of their flavors and frozen concoctions. But the salted caramel was great and earns it an 8 out of 10 for now.
|THE GENERAL GREENE|
|229 Dekalb Avenue (between Adelphi Street and Clermont Avenue)
Fort Greene, Brooklyn