Dave Rice 7:30 a.m., Feb. 28
Gelato at Pappalecco Hillcrest
The food at Pappalecco has been described several times in Reader blogs, but the gelato has thus far been overlooked. As far as I can tell, the Fifth Avenue branch of the gelateria is identical to the Little Italy space in terms of the menu.
At first, I was quite smitten with the decor and vibe of Pappalecco. It's very chic and seems to be the kind of place that might be the perfect post-dinner stop on a night out with friends; with espresso to fuel whatever the evening might have in store. Plus, the idea of a gelato on a warm evening appealed to me on so many levels.
The massive, glass display case of gelati held a lot of promise, but ultimately failed to deliver in just about every way possible. Stracciatella flavored gelato contained waxy, inferior chocolate and an espresso variety had been overpoweringly dosed with a liquor or extract. Both ice creams had an unpleasant, icy texture and exhibited far too much overrun (the amount of air incorporated into a frozen dessert).
The only upside was that the servings were generous compared to some other gelateria in town, though getting a greater amount of an inferior product is hardly a victory of gastronomy. Even with the generosity employed in scooping the gelati, the quality was little better than grocery store ice cream of average quality, which can be had for much cheaper at the local Vons.
3650 5th Ave