If you go to L & B Spumoni Gardens without ordering the namesake dessert, you're missing part of the journey.
Spumoni as we know it in the U.S.—a creamy frozen dessert much like Italian cream ice, often studded with fruit and nuts, served in a multi-flavor mashup—is just one of a number of creamy not-quite-ice-cream desserts from yesteryear. Take semifreddo as one; British spoom—sorbet with meringue—as another. You know Neapolitan ice cream? Likely a direct spumoni descendent.
You could say—and I will—that L & B's spumoni sets the archetypical American spumoni standard. You can order its chocolate, pistachio, and cremolata (vanilla almond-cinnamon) components separately, but they really come alive when ordered together, the chocolate adding bitter depth to the vanilla, the pistachio layering on fruity, nutty flavors. L & B's spumoni is creamy and devoid of ice crystals, paradoxically light and rich in a way that eludes most ice creams. Their pizza is of course a Brooklyn icon. This should be too.
L & B Spumoni Gardens
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