If you're a regular reader of the New York Times' Dining section, you probably saw the article this week on the American opening of GROM, the Italian gelateria. They opened their doors yesterday, May 5, drawing massively long queues with their offer of free gelato for all. I thought I might avoid the crowd by dropping by on day two - not so much.
I hopped into line and waited about fifteen minutes. The menu was quite conveniently posted outside, so about halfway through the wait, I had decided on a small, half tiramisu, half zabaione. The granita seemed best left for a truly hot day, and the chocolate seemed too rich.
The cash register broke down today, and Federico (one of the two owners behind GROM) was running the calculator. Both he and Guido, his partner, were delightful, chatting with the customers and dishing about the first couple of days' business.
The gelato is rich and creamy, but lacks the nasty, mouth-coating feel of many commercial ice creams. It's buttery without being greasy, and the flavors are clear and strong.
The tiramisu, essentially coffee ice cream with chocolate chips and lady finger bits, was lighter than I expected. The zabaione was fantastic - the Marsala wine zipped through the creamy custard, but it wasn't too sweet. Really well-balanced.
GROM's signature royal blue was in evidence on the gelato cups and the benches outside, but the shovel-like spoons are neon green, pink and yellow - much like the gelato itself, pops of unexpected color against a traditional background.