The exciting ice cream trend—the roll-ups, the nitro-blast scoops, the covered-in-colorful-junk shaved ice bowls, the honeycombed waffle cones, to name a few—has changed the frozen-treat game here in NYC these past couple of years, and shows no sign of slowing down. Witness the latest Instagram-bait outfit, Taiyaki, which opened Friday in Chinatown and sells soft serve ice cream in fish-shaped, pancake-like cones.
When asked about the significance, cultural or otherwise, of using a fish as one's vehicle for a frozen dessert, Jimmy the owner told us that he spent a lot of time in Asia recently and saw similar shops "all over the place". Plus, he said, kids want food to look good on Instagram these days. In reality, Taiyaki is actually a popular sweet snack enjoyed all over Asia, particularly in Tokyo, where it's thought to have originated.
We went to a preview party at Taiyaki this week, and can report that the "It's Choco-Lit" suggested favorite offers decent chocolate soft serve with a hint of cinnamon, and that the fish cone, here infused with a thin layer of custard, actually adds a pleasant texture and flavor to the proceedings. So despite Jimmy's claims, it's not ALL about the likes.
Also on the ice cream menu at Taiyaki are matcha, black sesame, and vanilla flavors, with a variety of mostly-expected toppings like crushed Oreos, rainbow sprinkles, mini M&Ms, and mochi.
Taiyaki is located at 119 Baxter Street between Hester and Canal and is open daily from noon to 10 p.m. (212-966-2882; taiyakinyc.com)