Before becoming a restaurant, food, and beverage lawyer at several prominent law firms, I did my summer associate training at the firm of Baskin-Robbins. Profits that summer were abysmal not due to B&R's lack of popularity but due to my constant ice cream experimentation and consumption (want to know what a
32-flavor milk shake tastes like?). New York City has come a long way since B&R, Häagen-Dazs, and Frusen Glädjé.
In 1998, while my wife was giving birth to my ice cream-loving daughter, Argentinean brothers Raul and Oscar D¹Aloisio were giving birth to my family's favorite ice cream shop right next to my family's favorite pizzeria (John's) on Bleecker Street, my family's favorite street. Just as John's has retained its title as best pizza (in my humble but nationally exhaustively researched opinion) despite the onslaught of self-proclaimed "authentic" Neapolitan style pizzerias including Kesté Pizza & Vino across the street, Cones has withstood competition from the likes of Turin-based mega-chain Grom down the block and Chelsea Market expanding L'Arte del Gelato around the corner.
But here's the real scoop: Cones is still the best and I'm not saying that just because my wife weaned my baby off of mother's milk in favor of Cones' chocolate ice cream.
Cones makes every flavor in-house by hand with fresh natural ingredients. Grom has become the McDonald's of gelato by shipping flash-frozen product all over the world before serving it. Cones, whose roots come from helado in Buenos Aries rather than from Italian gelato, offers incredible flavors like Dulce de Leche and Sabayon. Like the charming owners Raul and Oscar themselves, Cones' helado is Spanish with an Italian accent. It is creamier than gelato but not as hard frozen or air-whipped as American ice cream.
Like New York pizza vs. Neapolitan pizza, Cones Artisanal Ice Cream has its own unique taste that separates it from the subsequent foreign gelato invaders. If you don't believe me, just ask my daughter.