Editor's note: In "Fast Food International," Krista Garcia will take us around New York to the many international fast food chains that have landed in the five boroughs. She blogs at goodiesfirst.com.
Country of origin: Italy
Locations worldwide: 49 in France, Italy, Japan, and the US
NYC locations: Three: West Village, Upper West Side, Columbus Circle
Grom's approach to gelato epitomizes the "quality over quantity" spirit of the Slow Food movement, also born in Italy. The blue-and-white parlor is the antithesis of fast food, both figuratively and literally—in the West Village, lines wind out the door up until their midnight closing time.
Even in a city teeming with chilly treats (red velvet doughnut ice cream sandwiches? Trix and wasabi pea-topped cones?) Grom still commands a crowd—and a premium price. Of course, they source from small producers around the globe, and use biodegradable packaging; but whether these practices make you feel warm and fuzzy enough to part with $5.25 for a tiny cup, is up to you.
There's no denying the gelato is appealing, with scoops that taste precisely of their main ingredient. August's flavor of the month is cannella e cioccolato bianco featuring a Sri Lankan cinnamon called Regina: subtly spiced and creamy, it's a perfect balance of cinnamon and white chocolate. Stracciatella, in the foreground, is like an Italian chocolate chip ice cream—here, with a dark, fruity Teyuna chocolate from Colombian cacao beans.
In addition to their or so gelati, Grom offers a small selection of granitas and seasonal sorbets. While a lemon granita sounded tart and refreshing, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try the mandorla, using prized pizzuta almonds cultivated in Sicily. The nutty slushy is traditionally eaten on that Mediterranean island, for breakfast with brioche. Icy and not displeasingly gritty, with marzipan and amaretto appeal, this lightly sweetened specialty tasted surprisingly healthy. I'd take it over a bowl of granola any morning.
233 Bleecker Street, New York NY 10014 (map) 212-206-1738
2165 Broadway, New York NY 10024 (map) 212-362-1837