NEW YORK: EAT SEE PLAY SHOP SLEEP TIPS OUT OF TOWN

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Il Laboratorio del Gelato

I’ve mentioned before that we’re an ice cream-loving family, so much so that we’ve identified our go-to favorite ice cream spots in neighborhoods across the city for quick reference should we happen to be in the general vicinity. Il Laboratorio del Gelato tops that list when we happen to be on the Lower East Side or in the East Village, and we’ve stopped in the last two weekends running, which is never a hardship.

The large, industrial space houses a cafe in the front half, with stainless steel benches lining huge windows overlooking busy Houston Street. Behind the counters lies the open kitchen, or lab, where employees make all of the gelato and sorbet, and where local chefs come to collaborate and create custom flavors for use in restaurants around the city. Each day the shop offers a rotating selection of 48 flavors, and selecting just a couple can be a difficult task. Happily, even the smallest size portion can accommodate two flavors, perfect for creating your own ideal pairing. I’m always torn between the gelatos, which are rich and creamy (lately graham and brown butter flavors have been excellent), and the fruity sorbets, offered in a rainbow of intense and pure flavors like passionfruit, red grape, blood orange, and lychee. We like to set up a bit of a family taste test on each visit, making sure that no one duplicates flavors so we can sample as many as possible! Beyond cups and cones, the shop offers shakes and even gelato/sorbet cakes for special occasions, plus a full coffee bar.


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