It’s not too often that a net-new ice cream shop opens in New York City. There are, however, plenty of openings for new locations of existing stores/stands/brands; see Van Leeuwen, Davey’s, MilkMaid, and Ice & Vice in 2015 alone. So it’s exciting news that a new shop, 10Below, opened July 18 in Chinatown on Mott Street—right around the corner from Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.
According to the New York Times and the 10Below website, they’re serving “Thai-inspired ice cream rolls” that are made-to-order. The ice cream base is poured onto a -10°F metal plate, mix-ins are added, and in a minute or two it’s frozen enough to be scraped into a roll shape.
I’ve never heard of this style of ice cream-making before, but I’m intrigued. It sounds a bit like a mash-up of San Francisco’s Smitten Ice Cream, where liquid nitrogen freezes the base in a sci-fi-looking blender, and Cold Stone Creamery/Marble Slab, two mega-chains that slap already-frozen ice cream and mix-ins around on a granite stone before scraping it into a cup or cone. The novelty of freshly frozen ice cream, plus the roll shape, are sure to help 10Below stand out in an area of Manhattan that is already dense with A-list scoop shops.
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of made-to-order ice cream because it has a very soft texture, similar to that of soft-serve. But it’s guaranteed to be fresh and smooth, and good flavors/mix-ins will go a long way in making up for the texture (I know for many, the texture of soft-serve is a good thing). Judging by the line on their opening day, they’re going to do alright: