Location: Kips Bay (3rd Avenue and E 27th Street)
What We Ordered: Cap'n Crunch and Nutella
It was a brisk 42-degree night in mid-November as we found ourselves in Midtown and mulling over post-meal plans. Naturally our first thought was, "Where is the closest ice cream establishment?" We trekked down Third Avenue and found Mia Chef Gelateria. As we stepped up to the counter, our faces still defrosting from the cool air outside, we were greeted by an array of flavors including Stracciatella, Reese's Peanut Butter, and Tres Leches. After trying several samples, we finally settled on a large cup of Cap'n Crunch and Nutella.
One thing we must say about Mia Chef Gelateria, they know how to dress up their gelato. The Rosewater flavor had actual rose petals sprinkled on top and Nutella had hazelnuts mixed in. We got two heaping scoops of Cap'n Crunch and Nutella and sat down in a quaint table -- the only customers in the shop.
What started out as excitement, eagerly digging into our Shaq-sized serving, ended up as disappointment, sitting there with furrowed brows looking at a three-quarter eaten cup of gelato -- neither of us willing to finish what was left of an unfortunate frozen dessert outing. The flavor was bland and the consistency was more icy than creamy. Cap'n Crunch was a poor imitation of Milk Bar's Cereal Milk, which we weren't a fan of to begin with. The Nutella was a bit better, but still left something to be desired.
The assortment of flavors is moderately wide, with artisanal flavors such as Ferrero Rocher, Vanilla Wafers, and Guinness Beer. We tried a few that we've never seen in other places before like Rosewater, which essentially tasted like potpourri dipped in milk. Overall, we appreciated the selection, but that's where our affection ends.
Our server was very attentive and allowed us to sample many flavors without judgment. The store itself is small and intimate, only able to fit about 10 gelato eaters at a time. We learned that Mia Chef Gelateria frequently offers gelato-making classes, which is what occupies the majority of the store's back space.
Sitting at the table in the gelato kitchen, we felt like we had accidentally stumbled into a lost part of the Wonka factory, only instead of a chocolate river there's boxes of cardboard ice cream cartons scattered across the kitchen counter and instead of Oompa-Loompas there's a lone miniature sink in the corner.
At first glance, Mia Chef Gelateria appeared to have so much promise. There was an ice cream machine in explicit sight, a variety of artisanal flavors offered, and a four-star rating on Yelp from over 200 reviews. They seemed to have it all and we were ready to be swept off our feet. But alas, the contents didn't match its beautiful cover. Sometimes it's just not meant to be. Let this be a lesson to be wary of any establishment that self-proclaims to be "The Best <INSERT FOOD ITEM THAT IS ON EVERY OTHER BLOCK IN THE CITY> in New York."