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Dessert Island

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It's fairly startling, and kind of disheartening, that a city with such a slurping passion for ice cream is handed so few dessert menus that actually feature a single icy delight that amounts to more than a scoop on the side of something you don't crave nearly as much. Occasionally, however, a wiser chef with a cooler tongue prevails.

The Place
Fresco By Scotto
34 East 52nd Street
212-935-3434
The Concoction
The Praline Ice-Cream Sandwich ($9)
The Verdict
Marion Scotto swears it's light, because the praline is made with no butter. But what about the cinnamon ice cream and the drizzled chocolate and raspberry sauces? And the fact that it's bigger than a deck of cards? Don't worry. It's deadly. You'll love it.

The Place
Blue Ribbon Bakery
33 Downing Street
212-337-0404
The Concoction
The Banana Split ($9)
The Verdict
No bogus modernization or architectural bastardization. Just vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry (all other flavors are interlopers) under syrup, nuts, and whipped cream, surrounded by sliced banana in a glass boat. But you are shortchanged the cherries.

The Place
Washington Park
24 Fifth Avenue
212-529-4400
The Concoction
The Chocolate-Chip Sundae ($11)
The Verdict
It should be bigger, especially if you're going to share it. Not that I'd want to, because (1) it's my favorite flavor and (2) Jonathan Waxman's kitchen makes its own ice cream and (3) it's crunchy heaven. The drawback: You're shortchanged cherries here, too.

The Place
Fiamma
206 Spring Street
212-653-0100
The Concoction
The Ice-Cream Quartet ($9)
The Verdict
They call it gelati on the menu, but it's a bit too heavy to pass. What it has, however, are some of the richest and most appealing flavors in town. Gianduja, coffee chip, mint, and pistachio. Garnished with strips of chocolate. You won't even miss the cherries. Much.

The Place
JUdson Grill
152 West 52nd Street
212-582-5252
The Concoction
The Jack Daniel's Ice-Cream Soda ($10)
The Verdict
Take a classic chocolate ice-cream soda and blast it with enough Tennessee sour mash to cut the usual icy-drink brow-sting. This may be the first time ice cream ever gave you double vision. (Not on menu but always available on request.)

The Place
Town
15 West 56th Street
212-582-4445
The Concoction
Frozen Caramel Bombe ($12)
The Verdict
A core of caramel ice cream surrounded by a dome of milk-chocolate ice cream, then sprayed with milk chocolate. A hemisphere of a small, perfect world. Served with wonderful, weightless beignets that can distract your date while you steal that last bite of heaven.


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