Jeff Smith 11 a.m., May 25
Upscale Ice Cream in La Jolla: Bardot Bars
Back in May I wrote about the upcoming opening of Bardot Bars, a fancy-schmancy ice cream bar shop in La Jolla. I say fancy-schmancy because the shop, one of three opening in SoCal this summer, is located in a primo spot on Prospect Avenue, right between Herschel and Girard. It has an ocean view, and tons of foot traffic from tourists and locals who can afford to spend over $5 on an ice cream bar.
Bardot Bars is the latest endeavor from Xavier Briseno, who brought Italian style gelato to Mexico in 1999 with his Neve Gelato stores in Mexico City. His new shops, according to their website, are “Where ice cream is a muse and to receive it is to have a moment of inspiration.” Really, when did ice cream get to be so ostentatious?
The shop has a carefully designed boutique look, as if it has been vetted by a focus group. The central feature is a freezer that holds the handmade, stenciled bars in orderly rows, like a jeweler’s display case. Some of them have their tops sliced off to show what the inside looks like, a great idea.
Choices are organized into two “collections”, Classic ($5.40), Bardot ($5.80), as well as a couple of child-sized flavors ($2.20).
Despite the clever names, the flavors are familiar. Most have a chocolate coating, milk, dark, or white, except the mango, guanabana and yogurt/passion fruit varieties. Vanilla ice cream with dark chocolate becomes “Old School”, “Honey I’m Home" is cookies and cream, also with dark chocolate, mint ice cream and dark is “Deep Thoughts”.
I picked “Lucifer’s Dream”, marshmallow ice cream, graham crackers and marshmallow bites, covered with 60% dark chocolate. John’s choice was “Ebony and Ivory”, mascarpone ice cream and dulce de leche with a coat of 40% milk chocolate.
Our server brought our wrapped bars from the back, perched on a white tray. My first thought was that they were pretty darn small for the money, but hoped that the taste would compensate.
Sadly, it didn’t. There was no rich and velvety flavor or mouth feel of premium ice cream. I had a grand total of three tiny marshmallow pieces stuck next to the stick, along with a barely visible, much less taste-able bit of graham cracker crumbs. The thin dark chocolate coating was decent, but not outstanding.
John’s bar was disappointing as well. Again, the milk chocolate coating was thin and merely okay. The ice cream didn’t have any mascarpone flavor or richness, and there was a miniscule drizzle of dulce de leche.
I don’t mind paying a premium for food made with care and excellent ingredients. Unfortunately, Bardot Bars seems to be paying more attention to the package than the contents.
1025 Prospect St
La Jolla, CA 92037
Monday - Thursday - noon - 10:00pm
Friday - Sunday - noon - 10:30pm