3692 18th Street
San Francisco CA
You know an ice cream shop is good when customers are willing to wait 30 minutes in a line out the door on a chilly 40 degree SF evening. That was the scene Friday night in front of Bi-Rite Creamery. Inside the small shop is a raucous atmosphere of ice cream assembly and chatter. The customers were not the only ones adding to the noise; the lively servers barked orders aloud and at each other in what hardly seemed like work but a fun Friday night. Dave tried the banana “split” sundae with caramelized bananas, vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, toasted walnuts and whipped cream. At Bi-Rite, all of these toppings and ingredients are as close to hand made as possible and never out of a can. Despite all that, the sundae was not good as the caramel topping was burnt. Of course this would never happen in a mass-produced 5 gallon tin of mega-mart caramel but Bi-Rite made it from scratch and they messed up. On any other batch the caramel would probably be fine but the taste of overcooked sugar was obvious and ruined the entire sundae. At least it looked great.
I was reluctant to order the balsamic strawberry but was glad I did. FANTASTIC, and not just because I am a strawberry ice cream fan. This simple scoop was the best tasting strawberry I have ever had. It was a rich smooth strawberry and cream taste at first with later more complex hints of unami (meatiness) from the balsamic. I don’t know how much balsamic vinegar is used but don’t be put off by it, expecting acid-like salad dressing. If they didn’t mention it, you would never know it was there.
Just look at how many customers come out on a autumn evening.
The balsamic strawberry is the BEST. EVER.
The caramel tasted burnt that night.
My gut if I lived nearby and ate there everyday.
Quaint cramped creamery customers collectively queued
Sundae with roasted bananas and vanilla ice cream
You MUST try the Balsamic Strawberry