Sugar Rush

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Davey's Ice Cream Takes a Retro Approach

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[Photographs: Max Falkowitz]

Great looks don't make great ice cream, but when an ice cream parlor goes the extra mile for their sky high sundaes topped with hot fudge passed over a heavy wooden counter, I get giddy. New York, though a city with much wonderful ice cream, is somewhat lacking in old school ice cream parlors.

There's nothing old school about Davey's Ice Cream, the newest scoop shop to hit the East Village, but the place has some style, from its slightly-spooky-but-awesome storefront lettering to the marble-tiled floor and vintage wooden stools. The workers behind the counter are in abundant cheer, which the folks at Big Gay Ice Cream or Ample Hills can tell you makes for a much more pleasant scoop shop experience.

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The ice cream itself ($4.25 for one scoop, $5.50 for two, $6.45 for three) is pretty good, and one of the few in the city made at the store completely from scratch rather than with a pre-pasteurized base. On my visit, some scoops like pistachio were marred by an airy, grainy texture, but most, particularly the classics like vanilla, chocolate, and coffee, are clean-tasting, light, and pleasantly creamy. Mexican Vanilla Bean has Mexican vanilla's telltale smokiness, and Double Chocolate is almost inky-black, slightly bitter, and not too sweet—like a good Brooklyn blackout cake. If you dig your coffee ice creams on the punchy, strong side, Davey's super-caffeinated version will do you right, though I'd appreciate some deeper nuance amidst the coffee jolt.

If you're going retro at Davey's you might as well order a sundae; their chocolate brownie version ($9, $6.75 without the brownie) accommodates two generous scoops of ice cream, hot fudge or caramel, whipped cream, sprinkles, and a maraschino cherry. That brownie is dark and intense, almost truffle like, and a thin hot fudge sauce acts more like a palate cleanser than a sticky dose of sweetness (though it does lack the taffy-like texture of great hot fudge when it's chilled). While I wouldn't say the sundae engenders the same eye-rolling pleasure of the version at Ample Hills, I wasn't disappointed. The sundae, like everything else at the shop, is all about having a good time.

About the author: Max Falkowitz is the editor of Serious Eats: New York. You can follow him on Twitter at @maxfalkowitz.

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