What’s big, gay and here to stay? Ice cream! Or well, in this case, Big Gay Ice Cream! Okay, okay corny I know but I finally made my way around to Big Gay Ice Cream for the second time in my life. I have had this faint memory of trying the Bea (BEA not BAE) Arthur about two years ago and being ever so disappointed… Uh, am I allowed to say that? Big Gay Ice Cream is toted as one of the best ice creams in the city. I had to add it to my roster and give it another shot so I dragged J down to the East Village.
For a shop with a large rainbow ice cream cone in the window, I expected a lot more cheer but on this Saturday I felt as if the staff simply were not having it. Their location on E. 7th is small, which caused for some confusion at first as to where the line was and who was on line versus who wasn’t. It was about 3 minutes before someone appeared at the counter helping to distinguish who had already ordered, and the individual who handed off my ice cream made it pretty apparent by the look of boredom on his face that he really wanted to be anywhere else but there. I have no clue what that Saturday looked like before I stepped into the shop but the atmosphere really set a downtrodden tone from the start.
The Bea Arthur is one of Big Gay Ice Cream’s specialty cones consisting of vanilla soft-serve with dulce de leche dipped in crushed ‘nilla wafers. When I tried it approximately two years, the girls who suggested I try the ice cream shop could not stop raving about the ice cream. The flavors were good but did not knock my socks off the way I expected. I opted this time for the Salty Pimp– vanilla soft-serve, dulce de leche sprinkled with sea salt and dipped in chocolate while J ordered a twist–vanilla and chocolate soft-serve– dipped in chocolate.
The Salty Pimp definitely left a better impression than the Bea Arthur. First off, I am a sucker for salted caramel. The mixture of sea salt and dulce de leche on the inside of the cone, as your taking your last bite, was an incredibly pleasant surprise that definitely added some tasty points. The outer layer of chocolate was a second favorite of mine. It hardened within seconds of the server handing it off to me but melted marvelously on my tongue. It had just enough crunch as I bit into it.
There was a lot to be desired from the soft serve vanilla ice cream its self. Honestly, the creaminess that I look for in ice cream just wasn’t to my liking and the flavor of the ice cream fell short. It tasted like, and this may seem obvious but, it tasted like ice cream from an ice cream truck which makes sense being that Big Gay Ice Cream started as such. Maybe if I had the experience of getting this same cone from a truck I would be more willing to give it the title of “best ice cream” but the reality is that, this was an ice cream shop and there are various ice cream shops around New York City alone that can blow Big Gay Ice Cream’s ice cream out of the water. (Sorry!)
I did like that at Big Gay Ice Cream you can get lined cones–for example with nutella!–and customize their flavors (dulce de leche on that dipped cone please!) Their topping offerings from sprinkles to Trix cereal to Olive Oil as well as their seasonal and flavor of the week offerings might just be what sets them apart. Big Gay Ice Cream was good and come on, it is ice cream. I might need to pop in once or twice more to try some of their rotating flavors as well as their American Globs and Rocky Roadhouse specialty cones.
All in all, Big Gay Ice Cream is pretty good and worth a try. Just don’t expect it to be the best you have ever had.