There was once a simpler time. A time when instead of finding satisfaction in a craft brew or the truffle supplement, you had Mondo and PB Maxx. And while those old school treats have been discontinued, nostalgia never dies, and even fancy chefs pay attention.
Here are six restaurant versions of treats you loved as a kid, each one a throwback indulgence that’ll help you relive your childhood.
6. B&W Shake from Jimmy’s Diner, 577 Union Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-218-7174
This old school greasy spoon acts the part issuing disco fries smothered in brown gravy and cheddar and latkes topped with applesauce or sour cream until midnight. This black and white milkshake blends vanilla ice cream from Delicious Dessert with a healthy dose of U-bet chocolate syrup. By default, this gets finished with a mountain of swirled whipped cream, so warn your server off if that sounds like too much fun. Bonus: Fries make the perfect accomplice for dipping.
5. Chocolate pudding pops at The Vanderbilt, 570 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn; 718-623-0570
Harnessing the power of that nostalgic frozen section favorite, The Vanderbilt creates the pudding centers of these lickable treats with a mixture of milk, cream, butter, gelatin, sugar, and dark chocolate. That all gets poured into rectangular molds, and once frozen, the blocks are popped out, stabbed with a small wooden skewer, and dipped into a layer of velvety dark Guanaja chocolate for the thin shell. Finished with a dusting of Maldon sea salt, and it’s served atop Oreo cookie crumbs and a caramel sauce puddle.
4. Mac & Cheese at Joe and Misses Doe, 45 East First Street, 212-780-0262
This mac and cheese is a welcome riff on the humble blue box after-school snack minus that packet of suspicious orange dust. Joe Doe bakes pasta shells in the croc they’re served in and goes just heavy enough on the cheese sauce combining cheddar, pecorino, and Dijon mustard. He tops it off with crumbled Ritz crackers for that familiar sweet aftertaste. You can order yours spiked with thickly cut Berkshire bacon ($2) or peas ($1) (Mom, remember, would choose the peas).
3. DIY S’mores at Camp, 179 Smith Street, Brooklyn; 718-852-8086
This spot is already heavy on the camp nostalgia — deer heads line the walls, and you can play Big Buck Hunter. Only here, you don’t have to share marshmallows with all your sticky little friends. Order your own personal s’mores stash: a sleeve of Graham crackers and Hershey’s Milk chocolate bars arrive with jumbo marshmallows you can roast over a small flame on your table. Keep napkins on hand in case the melty middles give you spiderweb hands.
2. Cookie Dough ice cream at WD-50, 50 Clinton Street, 212-477-2900
Not all ice cream’s created equally. This extra silky creation is spun in an ice cream machine before it’s piped into liquid nitrogen to get it really cold, laminated with a chocolate shell and churned with traditional cookie dough rolled in a mix of crushed milk chocolate and dark chocolate chips for two truffle-soft balls.
1. 77&7 jello shots at Golden Cadillac, 13 First Avenue, 212-995-5151
Now that you’re over 21 now, Jello’s taken on a whole new meaning: it’s become a vehicle for booze. This East Village ’70s lair just started converting classic cocktails into jello shots; the 77&7 mixes Seagram’s Gin with clarified lemon and lime juice (to help spread around the packets of Knox gelatin), and it’s garnished with pop rocks to supply crackly soda effervescence on your tongue.
Watch for Northern Spy Food’s homemade Cheeze-its, currently in development, and Dominique Ansel’s milk and cookies shots, which drop at his bakery on Friday.