Emack & Bolio’s‎ – Brookline MA

26 07 2008

Ice cream is generally the perfect way to end a great meal. While there are certainly times when a cake (birthday) or pie (Thanksgiving) is more appropriate, ice cream fits nearly every undefined niche. The only times that things get problematic is when the ice cream disappoints. Unwittingly, both Marissa and I ordered a White Pistachio cone.

Emack & Bolio’s has been a landmark in Boston since they began in 1975 in Coolidge Corner. It was founded by rock lawyer Bob Rook initially as a place where folks could hang out all night long (liquor laws of the time meant that any place that sold had to close early). What was once a glorified hootenanny has become a fixture in town and has opened stores as far afield as Missouri and Florida.

What’s too bad about this history is that aside from a psychedelically painted cow in the front window, there is noting very rock and roll about this place. Tucked in a posh corner of Washington Square, there is not the music or attitude of rock present even vestigially. It’s just a parlor with a few cramped seats and little ventilation, so there’s no need to linger especially on a nice night like this.

Maybe it was bad timing, because the group that walked in behind us featured the girl that our scooper had a crush on, so his focus was clearly not on our order. He seemed put out by the fact that I asked for a sample of the pomegranate. When I got my cone it was the most precarious plop that you could imagine. Had I not caught the scoop with my teeth, I would have been left with an empty cone mere feet from the entrance.

The weather in the midst of summer can really mess with ice cream, but this had enough issues going on that it’s tough to blame the elements. Firstly, there was a terrible case of refreeze going on; the ice cream was laden with crystals that are out of place anywhere. Secondly, the actual pistachio nuts had turned the corner as well; while they were more than plentiful, they were soft and stale, and nearly always whole so that the flavor of the inside of the nut had no chance to get into the ice cream. Thirdly, and most importantly the ice cream itself was unimpressive. The flavor was lost. There was no creamy density to the cone to make it stand out and the ice cream was more of a bland vanilla with a hint of pistachio flavoring. They were really relying on the nuts to carry this cone and they past the opportunity for that to matter at all.

This wasn’t such a bad thing that I dumped it into a trash can as I walked, but it was worth some speculation as to what was up. Maybe it was the distracted employee base who seemed burdened by the counter work and they stopped paying attention to anything. We even contemplated referring to this place as “Emack and Blow-lios,” but realized that was probably too harsh, but they’ve got a lot to redeem themselves for next time I give ’em a try.

Cone – 1scoop $3.48 2scoops $4.35 3scoops $4.70

Sundae – 1scoop $5.25 regular $5.94 ridiculous $6.95

Frappe $5.05 extra thick $5.90 malted $5.40

Emack & Bolio’s‎

1663 Beacon Street, Brookline, MA 02445

617 492-1907

Open year round

Hours ?a-?p (not posted)





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