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Soft-serve ice cream seems like child’s play for a pastry chef whose career path has led him through the avant-garde kitchens of Will Goldfarb’s Room 4 Dessert, Paul Liebrandt’s Corton, and even El Bulli. And yet it’s possible that Bob Truitt, currently desserts honcho of Michael White’s restaurant group, has never concocted a single more primally satisfying sweet as the fior di latte soft-serve ($5) at his boss’s East Village pizzeria. Based on Truitt’s standard gelato recipe, the stuff is milky and soft, creamy and rich, but not excessively so—in short, it’s the perfect sensorial canvas for toppings that range from simple chocolate sauce to a more elaborate lemon meringue constructed from curd, streusel crumble, and meringue that Truitt’s minions blowtorch and oven-dry. Truitt’s personal favorite combo is chewy-crisp pistachio brittle with strawberry marmalade, a seasonal preserve that has since segued to orange-basil. A passion for ice cream, soft-serve especially, is always tinged with a note of nostalgia, and in Truitt’s case, it derives from family summers spent at the Jersey shore. “I grew up eating pretzel cones,” he says, pondering his next topping inspiration. “They were amazing to me.”
From the 2013 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).