Emack & Bolio’s – Cambridge MA

3 12 2008

I witnessed a remarkable feat just now. A girl walked in from Porter Square and asked if she could have some samples. She tried the ‘Deep Purple’ Cow and commented on the bad names for flavors. Then she got both Banana and Chocolate samples at the same time and walked out the door. All the while I just sat observing while eating a Raspberry Truffle cone.

Emack and & Bolio's ice cream shoppe

The banana flavor is actually called Mellow Yellow Banana. The bad flavor names usually have to do with a punnish rock reference being inserted into a more typical moniker. The reason for this is that Bob Rook who started Emack & Bolio’s had a day job as a music lawyer. It’s also why there are some locations connected with Hard Rock Cafe.

This spot is one of the newest Boston area locations, and it is tucked into the front corner of the shopping plaza at Porter Square. The building it is in is mostly filled by a CVS, but there is a glass-encased area that serves as a market for local artisans.  It’s when you get past that shop  where you find this two-tabled scoop shop.

I’d had a less-than-stellar trip when I went to the shop in Brookline this summer, so I decided to try a few samples and make sure that I got something that represented the ice cream well. I tried Raspberry Truffle, Cosmic Crunch, and  Grasshopper Pie. The Cosmic Crunch had become a more Funkadelian Cosmic Slop as the ice cream was dripping and melting everywhere with no need for the ice in its name.

I chose the raspberry trufle and it was a plain ice cream with swirls of raspberry and tiny raspberry-filled chocolate candies. While the candies and swirl did a great job of carrying the flavor, the ice cream was marred by a case of refreeze. The crystals were invasive even in the softened ice cream, and had changed the nature of the cone so much that it was tough to tell if this base was a vanilla or a white chocolate.

raspberry truffle emack and bolio's ice cream cambridge mass

After a couple of disappointing experiences it’s tough to tell what to make of Emack & Bolio’s. They’ve stuck around for thirty years, but it’s the only shoppe that has had refreeze issues really hamper the ice cream, and it has happened both times. While I do expect refreeze crystals as a problem in December when the ice cream has been sitting around longer than in the middle of the summer, it’s never fun to have ice cream be such a challenge to be good when everyone else calls it great.

other review: Emack & Bolio’s in Brookline

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

23 White St, Cambridge, MA‎

617 492-1907‎

Open year round

Daily noon-11p;  winter hours: Mon-Thurs 1p-10p, Fri 1p-10:30p, Sat noon-10:30p, Sun noon-10p





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