Daily Scoop: Italian Ices at Famous Ben's Pizza
Editor's Note: July is Ice Cream Month on Serious Eats: New York! To celebrate, we're spotlighting a scoop we love every day.
Talk about neglected art forms: who's making decent Italian ices these days? Among a few other keepers of the frozen flame, Famous Ben's Pizza still makes great ones ($2 each for a small, pictured), including what may be the best Italian ice I've ever had.
The Chocolate ice has a flavor between your Hershey's cocoa dreams and your U-Bet memories, a nostalgic light cocoa bittersweetness that still holds its own against modern dark standards. There's more rich chocolate flavor in it than you'd expect, especially with a soft, plush texture that verges on chocolate sorbet.
But it's the Crem-O-Lata that keeps me going back again and again. It's essentially a frozen horchata: rice-milky ice with flecks of chewy almond. The almond and cinnamon taste like the real thing, and the ice has a more genuine rice and milk flavor than most desserts at five times the price. I don't know how they make this flavor so good, but every time I take friends, they're wowed by how well it works. And it's two freaking dollars. A steal in Soho if ever there was one.
Famous Ben's Pizza
177 Spring Street, New York NY 10012 (map)