Van Leeuwen brings creamy delight to Boerum Hill
Photo by Joshua Kristal
The opening of Van Leeuwen’s in Boerum Hill puts two sent-from-heaven culinary delights–espresso and ice cream–into one chill spot. No longer do aficionados have to chase the company’s pale yellow trucks around Manhattan or trek to Greenpoint for a freshly-scooped fix.
The company’s bright and fresh storefront on Bergen at Smith Street feels as cool as, well, ice cream. White brick walls, white and black hexagon floor tiles and an ethereal large back window that looks like it’s been pulled from an old church make for a bright, light space punctuated by canary yellow stools and dark wood-grain tables.
Ice cream this good certainly deserves a beautiful backdrop. Flavors such as Earl Grey and ginger sing with subtlety instead of hammering with intensity. The rich, creamy vanilla tastes, in a word, pure. Van Leeuwen uses only fresh, hormone-free milk and cream from cows in Lewis County, New York. Eggs and cane sugar are the only other additions to the basic flavor.
The ingredients for Van Leeuwen’s variety of flavors are just as rigorously sourced. The vanilla, for instance, comes from organic bourbon and Tahitian vanilla orchids in Papua New Guinea. The harvested beans are cured in the sun, aged in vodka in oak barrels and finally ground into a paste.
The yin and yang of hot and cold, bitter and sweet, comes into play when you pair a cup of Intelligentsia espresso or coffee with your cone or bowl of ice cream–or in an affogato, the brilliant Italian combo of ice cream and espresso.
Chocolate lovers can indulge in sweets such as a brownie or chocolate chip cookie. There’s even an offering for the heart-health-conscious: house-made granola with yogurt.
My only complaint about Van Leeuwen is its serving size. I appreciate the generous scoop given the $4 price tag, but with so many children coming in, the business would do well to offer a half-scoop.
81 Bergen at Smith Street
Mon-Fri 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sat-Sun 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.