My search for the best ice cream in New York continues ….
We are in the midst of a very experimental time in ice cream. And I, for one, couldn’t be happier. I’ve always thought ice cream was one of the most diverse dishes in existence. If you can think of a flavor, odds are you can make it into ice cream.
In my days of making ice cream, I have experimented with all sorts of wacky combinations and flavors – everything from a very successful maple bacon to a horrifying turkey and candied sage. I have recently discovered that there is a shop in Los Angeles that makes Thanksgiving-inspired ice creams (including stuffing and mashed potatoes with gravy). Maybe they figured out how to make those flavors work.
Here in New York, we have plenty of ice cream shops that shun vanilla and chocolate in favor of some exciting and innovative flavors.
I’ve already reviewed Morgenstern’s, but the trailblazer in NYC’s exotic ice cream scene is probably Oddfellows. They opened a few years ago in a once-remote location in Williamsburg and has been overseen by pastry chef Sam Mason. From the beginning, the American soda shop ambiance was a front for experimental ice cream flavors such as chorizo-caramel and foie gras.
They’ve since opened a second shop in the East Village (which now focuses on ice cream sandwiches), but I was determined to spend some time in the original location.
It was here that I tasted their famous cornbread ice cream. It’s a pretty smart concept to add that sweet corn flavor to creamy ice cream (I know corn ice cream works well), but I actually thought it was a miss. It was super creamy and smooth, but that browned buttery corn flavor didn’t shine through in the sample.
Much more successful was the black pepper fig. The combination of the fruity sweetness was tamed by a healthy earthy peppery bite.
I was also a bit disappointed by the taste of Ants on a Log. Celery is one of my favorite flavors in this world and when combined with peanut butter and raisins, it’s a total home run. Here they make the afterschool treat into a sorbet, which I think is a brilliant idea. I just found that the peanut butter overwhelmed the celery and I missed that juicy, vegetal quality.
I was pleased that there was no difficulty trying a few samples here before deciding on a purchase. Quite a change from the pretentious rules of the other major experimental ice cream business in the city.
Of course, I did walk away with a scoop of ice cream and I settled on their Miso Cherry. This was great and I was very pleased I chose one of the home runs.
Buttery miso makes a very smart base for the ice cream, especially when studded with sweet and slightly acidic cherry pieces. After tasting this, the concept of cherry vanilla becomes irrelevant. How come more people aren’t demanding Miso Cherry?
Oddfellows is contributing to the exciting experimental ice cream movement. Some of their flavors work better than others, but isn’t that the hope when putting together an innovative menu? We all know chocolate, vanilla, and pistachio ice creams are great. Oddfellows (and others) are trying to figure out what else can be delicious. I’m more than happy to work my way through their flavors to discover the gems.
Is Oddfellows Ice Cream Co. the best ice cream in NY? They are certainly one of the most exciting and get an 8 out of 10 for making lots of unexpected flavors soar in a creamy, rich ice cream base.
|ODDFELLOWS ICE CREAM CO.|
|175 Kent Avenue (between North 3rd and North 4th Street),