You've heard of Italian-American and Japanese-American food, but have you ever heard of Japanese-Italian? At Gelarto, a new gelato shop in the East Village of New York City, you can find exactly that: an innovative, almost indescribable assortment of gelato in sushi form. That's right, Gelarto is single-handedly changing the desert game, and there is no possible way you can pass it up on this NYC #EEEEEATS endeavor. 

The Gist

I know what you might be thinking. No, gelato sushi is not gelato topped with raw fish. The fish is replaced with various assortments of candy, including Swedish Fish, which is reminiscent of ahi-tuna, only sweeter and—of course—much cuter. They can be ordered in sets of four for $12, and are served with chopsticks to add to the traditional Japanese feel. 

The stylized cold confections include flavors like mint chocolate chip, salted caramel, cherries & cream, as well as 46 other mouth-watering combinations. They also have some unusual flavors like Parmesan (what the heck?!). Several of their flavors are also dairy free for those who are vegan and lactose intolerant. All flavors draw inspiration from its original location in Torino, Italy. 

The shape of the sushi itself is made by loading the flavors into custom molds and placing them into a deep freezer for five minutes. Once they harden and cool to a consumable temperature, it is served and enjoyed by gelato enthusiasts and the average New Yorker alike.

The Experience

Avery Paulen

Gelarto doesn't stop at its whimsical interpretation of Italian-Japanese confections. The shop features funky seating, including a table bench in the shape of the back of a red Fiat and Vespa-shaped stools. And who can forget the hilarious interpretations of the famous paintings overhead, including a Mona Lisa with a gelato mustache?

Gelarto also serves up other delights, like ice cream sandwiches on a brioche bun crossed with a waffle, frozen gelato coffee, and gelato cakes... but none are so darling as the Instagram-worthy gelato sushi.

The Taste

Avery Paulen

On a hot day this past Memorial Day weekend, I decided to take a trip to Gelarto to see for myself if I was truly missing out, and to enjoy a refreshing snack as a cool-down from the sweltering heat... and indeed I was. 

My friend and I ordered 3 distinct flavors (one sweet, one refreshing, and one tangy) so that we could truly get a feel for the craft that each individual piece of sushi requires. We chose mint chocolate chip, mango, and our personal favorite, coconut. 

Mint Chip

Avery Paulen

Our plate came with two pieces of mint chip sushi, but with two different toppings. One had oreo crumbles and rolls of chocolate in the center, while the other had a flambé-like chewiness to it. Both were absolutely to die for. The lightness of the mint left me wanting more, and the chocolate chips mixed in with the beautifully whipped gelato created the perfect balance between creamy and crunchy. This was definitely a winner, and something I would for sure go back to have again. 


Avery Paulen

Upon my first taste of the sweet mango gelato, I was immediately brought back to my childhood days when I would indulge in mango water ice on the beach. Although this wasn't my favorite of the three flavors, it definitely was, by no means, a miss. What really made the mango remarkable was the small strawberry center that ignited my taste buds and left me feeling rejuvenated. What also sparked my curiosity was the sugary coating around the outside. It was more like a subtle caramel that didn't overpower nor dial down the mango. It complimented it quite nicely without making the flavor palate too confusing. If you're looking for a tangy, summery flavor, the mango is definitely for you. 


Avery Paulen

Like the mango, the coconut was also enclosed by a toasted caramel coating, which complimented it perfectly, and was reminiscent of toasted coconut flakes. Chewy and creamy all in one bite, the coconut delivers not only on taste, but the presentation as well. Topped with mango gelato in the form of sashimi, this dainty little dessert delivered the best in the presentation department. It is for sure a treat you can't pass up if you ever find yourself in the East Village. 

Whether you've heard of it or not, this hole-in-the-wall joint deserves some recognition for not only its retro, inviting atmosphere, but its innovation in bringing customers a product unlike anything ever seen before. Gelato sushi is changing the dessert game, and by basking in all its glory, one can say it has the potential to change your life.