If the success of vegan ice cream can be judged by its degree of similarity to the real thing, then Lula’s Sweet Apothecary is an unqualified victory.
Occupying a very wee storefront on East 6th Street, Lula’s is a sweetly old-fashioned place staffed by friendly people who patiently dole out samples and answer questions about the differences between ice creams made with soy milk and those made with cashew milk. Regardless of their content, the ice creams, produced in-house, are as smooth and creamy as just about anything made with dairy. And unlike other, more pious vegan ice cream spots, Lula’s seems to understand that part of the appeal of ice cream is decadence, and has thus populated its menu with sundaes, banana splits, and flurries.
The above sundae is a blend of hard vanilla-malt ice cream, soft-serve cake batter-chocolate ice cream, caramel sauce, crushed chocolate cookies, and a maraschino cherry. The whole thing is a true Fat Pants extravaganza, right down to the unsettling, chemical sunset hue of the cherry. It’s sweet, obviously, but the lack of dairy keeps the ice cream surprisingly light, so that it doesn’t induce a full-on food coma. Although the vanilla malt isn’t particularly malty, the cake batter/chocolate twist tastes as advertised. Combined with the crunchy cookies and the low burn of the caramel sauce, it’s ambrosia.
The sundae gets a Sweatpants rating on the Fat Pants scale — as any proper sundae should. It weighs in at $6.45, and offers a substantial return on its investment.
Lula’s Sweet Apothecary
516 East 6th Street
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 16, 2010