Monday, August 27, 2007

Grom trip

So my Grom experience was much like Jeannie’s, but I wanted write about it anyway. I went there with a good dose of skepticism because of the superhype surrounding it as “Best Gelato ever”. The guy from a famous New york City food blog wrote (paraphrased) that while Capogiro was over priced and over rated Grom was awesome and totally worth it.
We had to see for ourselves, so we took the trip over to the Upper west side which is full of all the rich hoity toity people pushing baby carriages and counting down the days until the next baby Einstein video or Oprah book pick comes out. In a word it’s gross. Grom was a small store front on Broadway and 76th; it has its counter about a foot from the end of the space which made the line start outside immediately. About two doors away from them is Beard Papa’s sweets which has some really great cream puffs. The store itself is decorated with a lot of modern plastic chairs and white walls; a lot of photographs of food ingredients with descriptions of the quality and the regional information as well as other marketing terms such as anti-oxidant-ish stuff hung on the walls. There were about twenty people ahead of us on the Grom line and we started to get crabby because of the humidity and because of all the gross acting residents and tourists, but the line went pretty quickly and we were at the counter in no time.
I asked for a sample of peach sorbetto and would have asked for more samples but the way the store and the line is configured you feel pressured to order fast, because people can’t order past you if you linger. The peach was a uniform orange color and resembled Italian ice. The flavor was peachy but it was icey and not very smooth. It ended up tasting like Uncle Louie G’s Peach Italian ice if you let it get a little soft. It didn’t taste very fresh and it definitely tasted homogenous. Their flavors seem to change seasonally with some of the flavors changing every month. Compare that to the daily changes at Capogiro and you can see why we go so often. Of the flavors they had I was most curious about Mint, so I ordered a small Fiore De latte with Mint and thought that Jeannie was going to get a small cone of her own but she chose to just share with me instead.
The mint was white which was good because I hate those fake green mint ice creams but I missed the green flecks of actual mint leaf like in Capogiro’s mint. The cone was bigger than what I saw people get in the small cup so I would suggest getting that. I tasted it and found it to be homogenous like the peach. There were no flavor spikes in the parts with pieces of mint or creamy swirls or anything. The texture was more like Ice Cream than I would have liked. It was thick and stretchy but it kept behaving like soft serve in that every time you took a spoon full a soft stretchy peak would form on that spot. I know that on the website it says they don’t use artificial ingredients but I had the feeling while I was eating it that it was fake tasting, or mass produced. The flavor was not fully developed. It came and went without any deepening or changing of the flavor the way that things that are nature usually are. I think perhaps they used mint extract or something and their milk must be ultra paseurized. I have always liked Mint ice cream and Mint chocolate chip ice cream but I have to say that the Grom’s Fiore De Latte with Menta was not very satisfying. If I had to do it over again I would have crossed the street and bought a half gallon of Breyers mint chocolate chip ice cream. I would have let it melt a little and had just as good if not a better experience than I had at Grom for a lot less money. To add insult to injury the sugar cone was flavorless and papery. How could they mess that up?
I really wish I could have gotten a refund and an apology on the whole thing. If I went back it would only be to use the bathroom or maybe to ask for quarters for the meter, which incidentally are 50 cents for 15 minutes on that block.

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