At first glance, More Than Just Ice Cream, located in the heart of the Gayborhood, seems more like just ice cream. Catering to take-out customers, the sparsely furnished storefront displays an impressive range of homemade flavors in two glass freezers. Patrons waiting for their frozen treats sit on benches against floor-to-ceiling windows, which span the front of this Washington Square establishment. In search of “more,” we follow a small sign to the café section, hidden behind a low wall and a potted palm tree.
The dining area, illuminated by sugar cone-shaped fixtures and strings of white Christmas lights, looks into an open kitchen. The nearly ceiling-high tropical plants that fill each corner are somewhat out of place, although helpful in making the room feel less expansive. More offensive to the décor than the touch of luau chic is a large, painted marble slab hanging from the ceiling, which depicts a garish man-woman staring seductively at an ice cream cone.
It is quiet for a Saturday evening, although the pouring rain and freezing temperature outside hardly scream ice cream weather. By the end of the half block that bridges a cab and the restaurant, we are dangling broken umbrellas and weighed down by layers of water-logged clothing. Not yet ready for anything frozen, we are pleased to find a selection of comfort food favorites within the laminated, diner-esque menu. A friendly waiter keeps our water glasses full to the brim while we scour the options, which are predictable but appetizing nonetheless.
The barbeque chicken ($7.50), accompanied by macaroni and cheese and a side salad, has a homemade quality to its taste and presentation. The portion size of the baked macaroni and cheese is small, but complements the chicken, dripping in a mild barbeque sauce, quite well.
The vegetarian portobello cheesesteak ($7.50), made with havarti, caramelized onions and roasted peppers, is simple but flavorful. The mixture of sweet and savory tastes blend together well in a sandwich that is satisfying but not too heavy to keep us from checking out the restaurant’s most exciting feature: the dessert menu.
Though the expansive menu features homemade baked goods and apple pie, we have already spent enough time not eating ice cream. We look over the special sundaes but opt for the “make your own” option, mixing and matching two flavors and a topping for $6.50.
Our sundaes, which are prepared faster than it took for us to decide on flavors, are large enough to be shared and still have whipped cream left over. The ice cream is surprisingly sweet — the chocolates too rich, but the fruit flavors are more manageable. The cherry vanilla is made with maraschino cherries, which gives it a more artificial but no less enjoyable quality.
We slouch back into our booth. Only the sugar shakes get us out of our seats, and though the meal was pleasant, only the ice cream was memorable enough to warrant a return trip.
More Than Just Ice Cream 1119 Locust St. (215) 574-0586 Don’t Miss: Cherry vanilla ice cream Skip: Dinner Bottom line: Just stick to the ice cream.