New York City's Instagram ice cream game is not for the faint of heart. One minute you're sucking down Black Tap's insane sugary shakes; the next, taking giant licks of the genuinely excellent Soft Swerve. It's tough to tell which is the larger addiction: the sugar or the sharing.
Enter New Territories into the fray, a friendly "eats and sweets" shop that opened last night on the north end of Orchard Street. Owned and run by Peter Mei and George Tang, two young men from, respectively, Hong Kong and Brooklyn, New Territories offers refreshingly high-quality takes on a couple of popular parlor goodies: Hong Kong-born "bubble" egg-waffle cones, and milkshakes outfitted with exciting, pretty crowns.
There's only one kind of milkshake at New Territories for now, but it's called Unicorn Parade so what else could you possibly want? The vanilla ice cream here, as in all the dishes, is from Van Leeuwen, so it has some real presence. But clearly the stars of this show are the marshmallow-topped Pocky sticks, the pastel braided arch made of marshmallow, the dark-purple streaks of ube, and the rim of chocolate and sprinkles that you should most definitely scrape off and plop into your drink. This tastes very good. Oh, and you can eat that butterfly, too.
Slightly more variety awaits in the bubble waffle department, with four options including a chocolate-and-banana Dark and Snowy, set off by its dramatic "black ash" waffle blanket (made from charred coconut); and the U-be Trippin', which features Earl Grey ice cream, animal crackers, and an ube waffle. Finally, there's the AffoTHAIgo—a version of the Italian gelato dessert affogato—which substitutes hot Thai tea for the usual espresso, with very satisfying results.
The space itself is narrow, but with (hopefully) enough stools and narrow counters scattered about to handle the "dine in only" edicts for the milkshake and affogato. A giraffe sculpture relaxes by the front door, facing a neon "Stop Making Sense" sign on the opposite wall. There was a line out the door for the opening yesterday evening, the excitement sparked by social-media hype and a half-price special. Needless to say, everyone was having a blast taking photos of their food (and eating it, too).
New Territories is located at 190 Orchard Street between Houston and Stanton. After selling out the shop last night, they will reopen again on Tuesday or Wednesday (check their Instagram), and the hours going forward will be 1:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily.