By Megan Fitzgerald
When customers order a cup of ice cream at Sub Zero Nitro Ice Cream shop, they might be surprised to find a cloud of nitrogen gas flowing out of their sweet treat. Before their very eyes, the ice cream ingredients are flash-frozen using a blast of liquid nitrogen in this science lab-style ice cream shop. While the experience is exciting to witness, customers might be hesitant to come back after tasting the subpar, frozen treat.
This science-based shop offers a wide range of ice cream options on their menu, from their signature “sensations” to a build your own combination option. I first tried the Birthday Cake Capacitor ice cream which was packed full of a variety of flavors and treats including cake batter, fudge, cookie dough, and sprinkles. With all these ingredients combined into only two scoops of ice cream, I found the flavors to be rich but the consistency to be very dense and sticky. This contradicts the smooth ice cream the shop promotes that is said to be creamier than traditionally-made ice cream. It was a challenge to get a good scoop of ice cream due to the crumble-like texture. This coarse consistency continues once you place the scoop into your mouth. Instead of melting smoothly onto your tongue, the ice cream stays pretty dense and takes a while to dissolve. Even though I am not an ice cream scientist, a possible hypothesis for this type of texture may be due to the large number of ingredients that hindered the liquid nitrogen’s ability to create smooth ice cream.
For my second serving of ice cream, I decided to create my own special combination that included brownie flavoring and chunks of cookie dough. I chose only one flavor and one treat to test if my scientific ice cream hypothesis was correct. While the ice cream was still very dense, the texture was smoother and did a better job at melting in my mouth. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the flavor of this ice cream combination. The brownie flavor of the ice cream tasted strange and didn’t have the rich chocolate taste that I was expecting. Also, I could barely taste the flavor of the cookie dough bites even though there was only a mild brownie flavor. After eating a few spoon fulls, I determined that I preferred the first cup of crumbly-textured ice cream over my dull, chocolate creation because it had a richer flavor.
The main selling point of Sub Zero is the overall atmosphere of the shop and the customer’s ability to watch the ice cream being made behind the counter. When people step into the ice cream shop, they feel as though they are walking into a science lab when they see the large liquid nitrogen tank at the front door. They can watch as the “Cool Chemist” workers mix up the ice cream ingredients while a pump shoots liquid nitrogen into the bowl. Once the liquid nitrogen hits the air, it creates a cloud of gas that flows across the ice cream counter and adds to the effect that a science experiment is occurring. Many people would find this type of ice cream creation to be interesting to watch, especially families with small children. It is unfortunate, however, that the ice cream doesn’t add to the exciting experience the shop is trying to create.
I am almost certain that my visit to Sub Zero Nitro Ice Cream was my first and last. While I did enjoy the science-based environment and the friendly workers, I know that I can find better ice cream for the same price at other places such as Brewster’s or Cold Stone. Neither of the two ice cream combinations that I tried were tasty enough that I would want to visit the shop again. I would advise that Sub Zero improve their formula and use higher quality ingredients to create better, more delectable ice cream that will leave customers eager to return.
Click to view restaurant website and full menu! https://subzeroicecream.com/