Neta (61 West 8th Street; 212-505-2610), one of those pricy-stylish sushi places that have mushroomed all over the West Village in recent years, has been a safe bet for smart omakase or a luxurious late-night sliver or two of toro. But we were surprised to hear a new summer addition, an ice cream sandwich, was causing a storm.
Chef Sungchul Shim tells the Voice “the inspiration came from a rice waffle,” a traditional rice-flour wafer, often used in miniature as a topping for ice creams in Japan.“I kept seeing monaka [rice wafers filled with adzuki bean jam] desserts when I was shopping in Japanese supermarkets, and I had the thought to combine the two. I started experimenting, and this is the result.”
The dessert starts with great ice cream, made in-house. The banana miso flavor is particularly good, with an almost savory note and a balanced creamy sweetness. And honestly, a ball or two of that would be worth the trip alone. But then the ice cream is placed within a clamshell of the rice wafers and topped with a sweet huckleberry jam. The crisp of the wafer with the cool, smooth ice cream is serious stuff.
Granted, this is more of a spoon-fork ice cream sandwich than a straight-up, fist-to-mouth one, but if you don’t mind diving in despite the somewhat rarefied surroundings, it’s well worth the sticky fingers. The sandwich is available à la carte and as part of the tasting menu — get it while the summer lasts.
The Village Voice is counting down to our Best of New York City issue in October. We’re combing the city every day, one dish at a time, to guide you to the most delicious food in NYC. These are our 100 Favorite Dishes for 2015, in no particular order, save for the top 10.
Here’s our countdown up to now:
#93: Almayass’s Mante
#75: Ippudo’s Pork Buns
#66: Pulpo at Toro