Frozen custard is huge in the mid-west. And I don’t mean literally. The portion sizes at Ted Drewes or Kopps are no bigger than a decent ice cream cone in New York. But custard is hugely popular. You can get sundaes, concretes, blizzards, and the like. And I’ve been to both those places in St. Louis and Milwaukee, respectively, and I fully understand the popularity.
Custard is made with a good deal of eggs and is frozen in a special machine. It makes the ice cream thicker and richer. And in a lot of ways, it makes it a more enjoyable sensation on the mouth. Mouth Feel.
To my knowledge, there aren’t many options for frozen custard in New York. Speaking of huge, I think most locals know Shake Shack by now. They sort of cornered the market on frozen custard in the city creating crazy flavors like Pancakes and Bacon, Concord Grape, and Apple Cinnamon Raisin.
But much more humbly and further away from the spotlight in the Latin American neighborhood of Corona in Queens, Timmy O’s opened about two years ago and they’re making some of the best custard I’ve had in the city or anywhere for that matter.
And before we even arrived, I fell in love with this place. We were at dinner in Flushing and I decided to call Timmy O’s to make sure they were still open (for the night and for the season). I didn’t realize I was actually calling Timmy O’s cellphone. He told me they would be open until 9 but he was not at the store. Sort of disappointed I wouldn’t get to meet this exuberant voice, we still decided to try it out.
They’re a much smaller operation than Shake Shack. Based on articles on the wall and stories the wonderfully sweet employee Rita told us, Timmy has a huge passion for making the custard (he makes it all on premises) and even attended ice cream school in St. Louis. They always offer three choices: vanilla, chocolate, and one special (it was passion fruit today). And Rita quickly gave us a taste of all three.
Wow! These are gourmet custards and instead of using gimmicky flavors (like a previously mentioned burger hut), Timmy O’s makes his with really special ingredients: the vanilla is a special Madagascar vanilla and the chocolate is made from a fancy Dutch cocoa. And you can tell in the flavor that these are more than just generic chocolate and vanilla. They have rich, deep flavors that come alive on your palate. The passion fruit (which is not my favorite dessert flavor) also worked surprisingly well in a dairy form. It wasn’t too tart, not too sweet, perfectly balanced and intensely flavored.
Not sure what to get (Rita kept giving us so many recommendations!), we settled on what they call the Mexican Sundae concrete. It involved both chocolate and vanilla custard, Mexican peanuts (which are just salted), and chocolate suace.
Now a concrete is custard aggressively blended with a topping and then served with a spoon. It’s usually turned upside down to show how thick it is (much like actual concrete, but more delicious). That’s not exactly what we got here. Rita did use the blender, but it ended up being built more like a sundae with whipped cream, nuts, and a cherry on top. It was pretty and quite delicious (somehow we finished the whole thing), but not what I was hoping for in a concrete.
And that’s really my only complaint with Timmy O’s. Rita called it a concrete but from my experience, I was expecting something else. She said they don’t blend it that much because then it would get soupy. Hm. Not sure about that. And I’ve never seen a concrete gussied up and with all those toppings after blending.
But really, should I be complaining? With product this good and a staff this friendly and energetic, I should just shut up and eat the damn stuff. Which is what I did. Especially considering you don’t get frozen custard this good just anywhere in New York. In fact, I’d recommend Shake Shack employees jumping the 7 train to learn a thing or two about real custard.
Is Timmy O’s Frozen Custard the best ice cream in NY? The flavors taste real and the texture of the custard feels great on the mouth. They still get a 9 out of 10 even though I take issue with some of their menu semantics.
|TIMMY O’S FROZEN CUSTARD|
|49-07 104th Street (at 49th Avenue)