It's no surprise that Nicholas Morgenstern has worked in some serious kitchens. His ice cream flavors are as composed and complex as anything you'd find at a table in a Michelin starred restaurant. He is a trained pastry chef who worked for a number of years at Gramercy Tavern and Daniel.
His ice cream shop is not the first restaurant he's opened. In fact, it's the fifth. After General Greene and Goat Town closed, he had huge hits with pizzeria GG's and coffee shop El Rey in the Lower East Side so Morgenstern's Finest Ice Cream seemed like the next natural step.
And it is indeed some of the finest ice cream we've ever tasted. And other artists agree since Morgenstern's often does exciting limited-edition collaborations with chefs (like a Sour Cherry and Mascarpone with Mario Batali and a Hot Dog Ice Cream with Daniel Boloud - seriously!) and fashionistas (jewelry designer Anna Sheffield inspired a black sesame studded pink pear and yogurt flavor).
And Morgenstern's has garnered many fans in the food world. There is often a line out the door and around the block to get a scoop or two of the unique (and Instagram-worthy) ice cream.
The bright shop is designed to feel like an old-time soda fountain/ice cream parlor. All the employees wear a white uniform and scoops are referred to as "dips." There's a small bar to sit at but it's mostly a place to order ice cream to take away.
Ambiance aside, the most exciting thing here are the ice cream flavors. All the ice creams are made in the Philadelphia-style (which means they do not contain eggs so are a bit lighter) and they often use unusual ingredients - concoctions like Durian Banana, Cardamom Lemon Jam, and Black Coconut Ash can all be found on the menu.
But for those that just want Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Caramel, or Coffee, you're in luck and your experience will be equally exciting. Morgenstern has created a number of variations under those categories - for instance, there are usually four to five rotating vanilla variations to choose from (like Madagascar, Bourbon Vanilla, Burnt Honey Vanilla. Creme Brulee, or Rose Vanilla).
Innovative sundaes, sorbets, and ice cream drinks are also available. No wonder there's always a long line.
This month we are celebrating National Ice Cream Month and Morgenstern's is one of our favorite places in the city to get ice cream. It's a unique experience that feels nostalgic and comfortable, but the ice cream flavors will take you out of your comfort zone and you will be grateful for it.
Our guides have a hard time resisting Morgenstern's since our Tenements Tales and Tastes tour ends right across the street at Loreley. There's no better way to top off a tour of the Lower East Side than with a taste of one of the newer innovative local businesses in the neighborhood.
Morgenstern's Finest Ice Cream
2 Rivington Street
New York, New York 10002