May 10, 2014

Tactical (Restaurant) Review: Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream

What to do on a gorgeous spring day after a great lunch in Atlanta and in the hunt to avoid an oncoming hypoglycemic episode? Well, having just left Antico’s supremely stuffed and satisfied, my wife and were in such a conundrum and henceforth, on the prowl. But having heard that new ice cream parlor, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, had just settled down in it’s new residence in Westside, we pranced on over.

Truth be told, I’d never heard of Jeni’s nor her rapid following for her all natural ice cream (thank you #Twitter), but I was excited none the less.Nestled between such Atlanta heavy weights as Bacchanalia, Star Provisions and JCT, this is a prime location and a boon for Jeni and her Columbus based ice cream empire. Parking is a cinch, plenty of seating both inside and out, and the neighborhood is lively, always a good combo.

Nice atmosphere and smart service.
The atmosphere of the parlor was inventive and engaging. A large, green chalkboard dominates the place as scribed across it are the myriad of different flavored ice creams. White tiles, wood paneling, and string lights help to create the clean, fun atmosphere as one is ushered past the windows of crate lined frozen dairy.

Know ahead of time that I prefer gelato to ice cream, creamier with less ice, but I’ll still pack away a double scoop with the best of them. That being said, the selection her at Jeni’s truly is second to none. The word eclectic does a disservice to the extent to which she and her team have gone to provide off the wall flavor combinations. The most challenging issue is choosing a flavor.

Really, is this enough flavors for you?
Where to start? With combinations such as Brambleberry Crisp, Goat Cheese with Cherries, and Yuzoo Sue with Rosemary Bar Nuts as examples, you can see the level of creativity was off the charts. What struck my wife and I as we indulged our curiosity with many a taster of the various selections was the potency of the flavors. When it says rosemary, one is hit (SMACKED more less) in the mouth with ROSEMARY. There was no subtlety. These were bold and unique but I wonder if too artisan for the average patron/firefighter who seeks classic, clean flavored ice creams. This is adventurous at heart and you should be forewarned but not fearful, ice cream is FUN.

I settled on the #1 and #2 best sellers for Jeni’s, the Buckeye (a salute to her home state, salted peanut butter and dark chocolate, a strong entry) and Salted Caramel (a personal favorite flavor, very solid), and then a limited edition flavor of Birchwood and Marshmallow (a miss for me, the unexpected whole marshmallows were not appealing). My wife settled on the Riesling Poached Pear Sorbet (fun but with surprisingly subtle Riesling flavor) and Dark Chocolate (decadent). Again, all where strong flavored and left no illusions as to what you’re designed to experience and were mostly successful. My only issue as I prefaced above, was the ice content of the ice cream, just not creamy enough for my palette. I guess I’m just a sucker for creamy ice cream or gelato in general. (*Note that they also carry frozen yogurt, other sorbet, ice cream sandwiches and a spattering of toppings.)

A fun-filled trio of flavor.
Levels of creaminess and STRONG flavors are the only notes of very slight caution and both are matters of personal preference. Neither one should dissuade one from attempting the cornucopia of flavors nor FUN that Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream offers. The craft and care that they place into their product is obvious and should establish them as a dessert stalwart in Atlanta for years to come. Well done, a solid recommend.

Review Date: April 2014


Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams on Urbanspoon

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