In the latest edition of Top 5, we check out the most-popular Ice Cream spots of New York City:
Overall Rating: 7.5/10
Presentation: I let out an audible “wow” when I picked up my waffle and ice cream. Whoever came up with this pairing and presentation should get an award. The waffle is easy to tear and dip into the ice cream, and it looks as amazing as it tastes.
Environment: The line is a major drawback. Wowfulls is only available at the open-air food market Smorgasburg, so everyone and their mother heads to the tent on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s worth the wait once, but I’m not sure I would do it again.
Flavor: The raspberry and white chocolate was the special flavor of the week, and it did not disappoint. The hot waffle and cold ice cream was a perfect combination, but don’t wait around for the ice cream to melt. When the waffle becomes soggy, the Wowfull looses its appeal, but odds are you’ll be pretty full by that point.
4. 10Below Ice Cream
Overall Rating: 8/10
Location: 10 Mott Street, Chinatown
Presentation: You can’t find rolled ice cream just anywhere. This ice cream is easy on the eyes and tastes delicious. Pro tip: pass on the whipped cream — it makes the rolls look less photogenic.
Environment: The line was out the door. People here really like their trendy dairy. Once you make it inside, it’s definitely worth working your way up to a rolling station. You’ll see liquid cream transform into solid ice cream, while being chopped and molded on the -10° silver plates. Get your camera ready to capture the rolls taking shape and then choose your toppings for personalized Thai ice cream rolls.
Flavor: I had the cookie monster flavor which consisted of finely chopped Oreos and vanilla ice cream. I was surprised at how smooth it was and how well the rolls held up. Although the tops of the rolls began to melt, the insides were firm and really tasty. The flavor was spot-on with traditional cookies and cream. Don’t hesitate to load up on the toppings — it’s a flat $7 fee for any ice cream roll selection, so go ahead and add that toasted marshmallow.
3. Black Tap
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
Presentation: These milkshakes steal the spotlight of any Instagram. Be sure to snap the picture quick, though — one of the cookies was sliding down the glass right after I got my shake. The shake had a vanilla ice cream base, with two ice cream cookie sandwiches, whipped cream, chocolate drizzle, and graham cracker crumbles glued with vanilla icing around the rim.
Environment: Another ice cream place, another long line. I should be used to it by now, I suppose. I went to the Soho location, and it’s so small the line is pretty much guaranteed to wrap around the block. Once inside, you’ll sit at the bar (there isn’t space for tables), and go back and forth on which milkshake to order.
Flavor: Each milkshake is basically three desserts in one: ice cream, cookies, and candy. Needless to say, it’s difficult to finish by yourself without entering a sugar-induced coma. Everything tastes great, but it’s almost too much sweetness. Emphasis on almost.
2. Cha Cha Matcha
Overall Rating: 9/10
Location: 373 Broome Street, Nolita
Presentation: Look at that color combination. The green matcha and cream vanilla coordinate perfectly with the store’s pink-and-green theme.
Environment: This is every Instagrammer’s paradise. Cha Cha Matcha is decked out with pink and green tables, decor, and food. You may even run into a celebrity while you’re there. Gigi Hadid and Leonardo DiCaprio have been spotted at this Nolita matcha hot spot.
Flavor: I cannot believe how much I enjoyed this soft serve. The swirl option was definitely the way to go. The vanilla and matcha flavors complemented each other well and for $4, this ice cream was the cheapest of the places I visited. Unlike other grainy matcha lattes I’ve previously had in the city, this matcha soft serve was smooth. For someone looking to try the powdered green tea, but not wanting to fully commit, this is the way to go.
1. Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream
Overall Rating: 9.5/10
Location: 2 Rivington Street, Lower East Side
Presentation: Look at these perfectly shaped scoops — you could not ask for a better photo opportunity. Like Beyoncé, this cone is flawless.
Environment: The line for Morgenstern’s was out the door. If there’s one thing I’ve learned this summer, it’s that a line of customers is the best advertisement you could have, as people are typically drawn to New Yorker-approved hot spots. If you can find some room behind the counter, watch as employees add toppings to tubs of ice cream and roll them into impressive spherical scoops.
Flavor: The pistachio nuts overpowered the green tea flavor in the first scoop. And the second (yes, the black ice cream) didn’t taste like coconut, but more like a sweet vanilla. Overall, the ice cream didn’t shine in flavor, but its smooth and creamy texture would bring me back again. And yes, the black ice cream did turn my tongue black.