The Absolute Best Ice-Cream Sundae in New York

The artfully composed offerings at Victory Garden. Photo: Liz Clayman

It’s time to declare the city’s best ice-cream sundae, that blissful mixture of ice cream, sauce, toppings, and — ideally — some kind of crunchy thing on top, all served in a bowl or a glass (not a cone!). Extra points, of course, if there’s a cherry on top. These three spots make ’em best.

The Absolute Best

1. Victory Garden
31 Carmine St., nr. Bleecker St., 212-206-7273

This tiny Carmine Street parlor specializes in soft-serve made from fresh, local goat’s milk, which means it’s a little less sweet — and supposedly a little more nutritious — than standard scoops. Four flavors are available at any given time, and they rotate regularly, but they may include salted caramel, honey lavender, strawberry, or Mexican vanilla. Similarly, owner Sophia Brittan rotates her $9 sundaes seasonally, too. This summer, that means you should look for options like the Cheesecake Sundae (with poached rhubarb, strawberry sauce, and goat-butter graham-cracker crust), Sesame Mucho, Miso Lovely (tahini cream, sesame-miso brownies), the Singing in the Rain (raspberry drizzle, pistachio praline, jasmine marshmallows), and the most creative of the bunch, Alfajor, which features guava sauce, goat-milk caramel, coconut, and the namesake South American sandwich cookie. Brittan treats each of her sundaes more as composed desserts than simply ice cream with some toppings, meaning the whole is often greater than the sum of its (considerable) parts.

2. Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream
2 Rivington St., nr. Bowery, 212-209-7684

It’s fitting that the so-named New God Flow sundae invokes Kanye West: It’s one of the best sundaes of all time. Two scoops of Nicholas Morgenstern’s raw-milk ice cream sit on top of a thick, fluffy slice of Japanese milk bread that’s coated in honey and toasted with a blow torch. In tasting sundaes all over town, many were just too sweet, but this one has a delicate balance, and the warm bread melts the ice cream just enough.

3. Brooklyn Farmacy
513 Henry St., at Sackett St., Brooklyn, 718-522-6260

Somewhat surprisingly, the ice cream that serves as the base of Brooklyn Farmacy’s $15 sundaes isn’t made in house (it comes from Adirondack Creamery), but the Carroll Gardens soda fountain makes up for this fact with both its variety and ambience. Housed in a restored 1920s apothecary, the vintage-y space is without a doubt the most delightful setting for sundae-eating in New York. There are 18 specialty sundaes, with a heavy emphasis on simple, kid-friendly toppings, like Nutella, toasted marshmallow fluff, broken pretzel rods, and rainbow sprinkles. They also specialize in mixing sweet with salty, in creations like the Mr. Potato Head (vanilla ice cream, North Fork potato chips, peanut butter, warm caramel sauce, whipped cream). The top pick, however, has to be the Flyin’ Hawaiian, which mixes coconut ice cream, vanilla cake, pineapple compote covered in li hing mui (a tart dried plum powder), macadamia nuts, and whipped cream. It’s like a piña colada on steroids.

The Absolute Best Ice-Cream Shops in New York
The Best Ice-Cream Sundae in New York