Sugar Rush: Max and Mina's Ice Cream in Kew Gardens Hills
There's no shortage of accolades about this outer-outer-boroughs scoop shop, and hey, when you make cream cheese and lox ice cream, you're going to get attention. But Max & Mina's is more than just a whacky ice cream flavor factory. They're a quite solid scoop shop with incredibly generous portions, reminiscent of many ice cream joints that pepper Long Island, but better than most of them.
I mean it about generous portions. What you see above is a two-flavor small for $3.70. The "medium" goes for $5.90, and it looks the better part of a pint. The ice cream itself runs sweet (candy-sweet in the case of swirls), fluffy, and rich, with a strong film of dairy that coats your palate after the ice cream melts away. You could call it the thinking person's Baskin Robbins, and if it's not quite as boldly flavored as you might like, it's still plenty of fun.
But where Baskin Robbins contents itself with rocky road as their "weird" flavor, Max and Mina's goes for broke: sweet corn (with chunks of corn in the mix), beer, and Captain Crunch.
I was quite taken with that sweet corn, which has an unmistakable grassy sweetness and some pleasantly chewy kernels of corn embedded within. Beer is light in flavor—think Miller—but with a subtle, light maltiness. Conventional flavors are a mixed bag: coffee is light and ever so slightly bitter, but peach bears more resemblance to bubble gum than fresh fruit.
The best ice creams of the lot may be those full of chunks and ribbons. Chocolate cookie dough has a mild cocoa richness that works well as a canvas for gritty knobs of sweet dough. Coffee with a caramel swirl, perhaps my favorite of the lot, balances bitter with gooey sweetness.
Max and Mina's isn't a scoop shop for ice cream snobs. But it's a great place to have some fun with crazy—and not so crazy—flavors.
Note: Max's and Mina's is kosher, and thus is closed Friday evenings and Saturdays. They've been known to be closed on other days as well. Call before you visit.