Beat the Heat with These Cool Upper East Side Treats

Written by Our Town on . Posted in Best of Manhattan, Dining Our Town, Our Town.


Best ice creams of the Upper East Side


By Megan Bungeroth, Alissa Fleck, Rebecca Harris, Amy Michelle Smith and Amanda Woods

In honor of the scorching heat and National Ice Cream month, we scouted out a half-dozen frozen treat purveyors on the Upper East Side to find out who’s got the best sweet and cold desserts. Going off the beaten path of national chains, our tasters sampled an array of types—ice cream as well as gelato, sorbet and frozen yogurt—as well as flavors both classic and wacky to give our readers the inside scoop. But we want you to decide who’s got the very best frozen treats; vote for your favorite at nypress.com/best-ice-cream-ues.

Golosi Artisan Pizza & Gelato
1304 2nd Ave., 212-772-1169, golosi.com
Blueberry sorbet and cookies & cream gelato; small, $4
Flavor: 4
Inventiveness: 4
Value: 5
Brain Freeze Factor: 4
Melt Factor: 5
Presentation: 4
Creaminess: 3

Golosi is a small Italian deli-style restaurant on the Upper East Side with artisanal pizzas and an array of desserts. We tried the blueberry sorbet and cookies & cream gelato, and were impressed with both. The gelato was not hugely flavorful, but it had a light quality aided by the sparseness of cookie chunks, giving it a virtuous feel. The gelato seemed a little icier, for lack of a better description, than other gelatos, but was still smooth and tasty. The blueberry sorbet was delicious and had a fresh fruit flavor with bits of blueberry, reminiscent of a natural fruit pop. It had a stronger flavor than the gelato without seeming too sweet or artificial. Golosi has a variety of yummy-looking sorbets and gelatos, which makes choosing a difficult task.

Serendipity 3
225 E. 60th St., 212-838-3531,
serendipity3.com
Strawberry Fields Sundae, $15
Flavor: 3
Inventiveness: 3
Value: 2
Brain Freeze Factor: 3
Melt Factor: 4
Presentation: 4
Creaminess: 3

For those of you willing to spend 30 minutes waiting for a slice of a John Cusack movie, Serendipity is certainly for you. We decided to indulge out fruity side and try out the Strawberry Fields sundae. With rich strawberry ice cream, chunks of creamy cheesecake, strawberry topping and a fist-sized dollop of whipped cream, you would think that this would be a heavenly confection, right? Alas, the ice-cream-to-whipped-cream ratio played too far in favor of the latter, and the sticky strawberry topping wasn’t quite the refreshing treat I was hoping for. Considering the wait time and the curmudgeonly staff, this sundae really wasn’t worth the wait.

Emack & Bolio's.

Emack & Bolio’s
1564 1st Ave., 212-734-0105,
emackandbolios.com
S’moreo: One scoop vanilla ice cream with marshmallows and chocolate swirl on a sugar cone with chocolate sprinkles; $4.50
Flavor: 4
Inventiveness: 5
Value: 4
Brain Freeze Factor: 2
Melt Factor: 3
Presentation: 2
Creaminess: 5

This Boston-based parlor is a fan favorite on the Upper East Side, known for its unique flavor and topping combinations and super-premium ice cream free of genetically modified hormones. The shop is fun, colorful and clean, with quick, friendly service and quirky flavor boards. On the downside, its cramped space leaves something to be desired for big families or customers hoping to linger and eat. Emack & Bolio’s offers a wide variety of flavors with mixed-in toppings and wacky names, from Twisted Dee-Light to Space Cake to Grasshopper Pie. The ice cream itself is extra-creamy, and while $4.50 may seem a bit steep for a single-scoop cone, the product has a notably high-quality taste. This spot is definitely worth a try if you find yourself craving a sweet, satisfying dairy snack.

Yogo Swirl

Yogo Swirl.


1585 2nd Ave.
Self-serve: chocolate and cookies & cream with mini M&Ms, cookie dough, banana slices and hot fudge; $0.49 per ounce
Flavor: 3
Inventiveness: 1
Value: 3
Brain Freeze Factor: 4
Melt Factor: 4
Presentation: 3
Creaminess: 3

If you’re looking for a light alternative to ice cream, the Upper East Side is home to a handful of popular frozen yogurt joints. Unfortunately, this particular local shop boasts neighboring storefronts Pinkberry and 16 Handles, both of which—unlike Yogo Swirl—consistently have customers lined up out the door. Yogo Swirl offers extremely limited, traditional flavors and minimal toppings; plus, the banana slices were browning and the cookie dough was chalky. The store has comfortable, colorful, abundant seating, the yogurt itself tastes as good as any and you get your money’s worth at a decent price. Not to mention that if you want to avoid throngs of yogurt-crazed teenage girls, the place offers a far more relaxed environment than its neighbors. Still, with quality self-serve alternatives just next door, Yogo Swirl would not be our first choice.

Lexington Candy Shop.

Lexington Candy Shop
1226 Lexington Ave., 212-288-0057,
lexingtoncandyshop.net
Vanilla sundae with chocolate sauce; $7.95.
Flavor: 4
Inventiveness: 2
Value: 2
Brain Freeze Factor: 5
Melt Factor: 4
Presentation: 5
Creaminess: 3

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 bit 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.

Sedutto
1498 1st Ave., 212-879-9557,
sedutto78.com
Medium birthday cake ice cream with crushed Oreos; $6.25
Flavor: 5
Inventiveness: 3
Value: 4
Brain freeze factor: 4
Melt Factor: 4
Presentation: 3
Creaminess: 4

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 & 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.

Don’t forget to vote at nypress.com/best-ice-cream-ues!

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