Friday, July 5, 2013


Talk about following the chef.  Not only did I follow a chef al the way out to Brooklyn, but I followed him to not even a restaurant!  But this guy I'd basically trust with my life.  I met Sam Mason when he was Wylie Dufresne's pastry chef at WD-50, doing unprecedented things with sweet and savory, mysteriously transforming the mundane into miraculous.  Leaving there he opened up a favorite destination of mine, the now shuttered Tailor down on Broome Street in lower SoHo.  Chalk that one up to a crashing economy and trying location, because there really was little about it that wasn't simply awesome.  Frustrated with the industry (who wouldn't be?) he opened up a bare-bones-but-fabulous dive bar in Williamsburg called Lady Jay's, which is still going strong.  And then (talk about capitalizing on a niche product), he created Empire Mayonnaise, implementing his expertise of flavors to create an entire line of the condiment in flavors from bacon, red chili, black garlic, white truffle and vadouvan (there is also an exceptional plain classic variety).  No moss growing under these toes, he most recently opened Odd Fellows Ice Cream Co., a kitschy, old school ice cream parlour that couldn't not charm even the most grinchy stooge.

Big windows open up into a retro-looking room framed with sleek countertops and stripey wall paper.  Odd paraphernalia like a gonzo-looking monkey complete with cymbals (their mascot) and myriad random Americana decorate cubbyhole frames behind the counter.  You'll feel like your in another universe... a world perfumed of toasty, sweet waffle cones, which are being cooked on a heavy griddle right in front of you.

Of course, a place like this isn't without its problems.  That problem exclusively is deciding - because Odd Fellows has a lengthy list of drool-worthy flavors, ranging from traditional to kooky, seasonally pure and light sorbets to diet-killing concoctions fraught with nuts and bacon and caramel.  In that ilk, a cornbread sundae is an exquisite celebration of summer, no holds barred.  Cornbread ice cream (how's
he do that?) is ethereally sweet, smooth and corny.  Sluiced in jammy blueberry compote and a crumble of cornbread, it is then topped with a bacon-infused maple whipped cream... and topped with a precious  pea tendril, highlighting all things seasonal.  Some flavors are meals in themselves:  PBJ w/ Toast is pretty much a balanced repast in a cone.   And so goes toasted sesame
 kumquat pumpernickle, while chorizo caramel might demand a chunky strawberry sauce to help fulfill your five-a-day.    But there's nothing lacking on the fruit front, with myriad sorbets:  strawberry lavender (pictured), blood orange-cinnamon, lime-tarragon, and (although it took a little convincing) my to-date favorite: grapefruit-jalapeno.  It went down with just a touch of fire on the back of my throat, soothed by the juicy, icy sorbet pungent with tangy grapefruit.

And as if all that weren't enough, Odd Fellows also offers homemade cotton candy and sodas, using local, farm-sourced ingredients as the inspiration for flavors along with Mason's iconic creativity.  Premium is an understatement.  And is if all THAT weren't enough, they also donate five cents for each scoop purchased to the Food Bank for New York City:  "Four scoops of ice cream will give someone in need a hot meal."   And here, four scoops can go down in the blink of an eye.  Like they say, "How amazing is that?"

175 Kent Avenue
tel. 347.599.0556

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