Monday, July 22, 2013

READER REVIEW: Dominique's Review of Steve's Coconut Key Lime Pie

It’s summer. It’s hot out. I spent all afternoon in the sun at a Brooklyn block party where The House of YES had set up a rig so we could do aerial acrobatics in the street. It was fun, but after being covered in sweat for hours, it was clear only one thing would help me actually feel refreshed. That, of course, would be a tropical ice cream like Steve’s Coconut Key Lime Pie. Funny thing is I bought it thinking for sure it had been reviewed here before. But no! So here are my thoughts, compare/contrasting it with one of my favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavors, Key Lime Pie.

At first taste, there was way too much lime and a little hint at meringue. Even without getting a big helping of the key lime pie filling swirl, the base isn't hurting for sour citrus flavor. A few more bites in, however, the coconut cut through that pucker-inducing lime in a really clever way, blanketing it with a subtle sweetness and just a little dry coconut flavor. I like the clean, smooth lime in Ben and Jerry’s version, so I was dubious about adding in coconut, the only reason I’ve been putting off trying this one. But the lime comes on so strong that the coconut proves necessary to balance it out.

Shortly after the coconut in the base began to shine, I hit a big chunk of flavorful graham crust. The next bite had only a tiny crumb, but that still had a noticeable effect. The graham cracker crumb crust – very similar in texture to the vanilla wafer cookie crust in Steve's Southern Banana Pudding, also sourced from Brooklyn restaurant Pies-n-Thighs – soaks up the intensity of the super tart lime, giving the tongue a much-needed break before taking on more of the sharp citrus. That makes room for the coconut to reenter, working like a palate cleanser that repeats throughout. As far as graham cracker mix-ins are concerned, Ben & Jerry’s doesn’t stand a chance going head-to-head with Steve’s. I only wish there weren’t as many big chunks of crust because too many bites were crumbless.

I still think Ben & Jerry’s Key Lime Pie is a respectable version of one of my all-time favorite pies (and I really love pie) and can't get enough of the double swirl of lime and fluffy meringue, but from now on, I fully support putting lime in the coconut and mixing it all up. That points to one thing that Steve’s does better than most ice cream makers: intentionally layer flavors to create a bold, complex profile.

Next Steve’s I try will be another summer combo, Sweet Corn and Blackberry Preserves, which I spotted in the Union Square Whole Foods a couple days ago. Too bad it’ll melt before I get it home; must be a sign to buy an insulated bag.

Where Dominique Found It: Associated Foods (Brooklyn, NY)
Grade: A


  1. I thought this was too mild. Have you tried Cioa Bella's key lime gelato? It is really good.

    1. I haven't tried this, but I have tried Ciao Bella's Key Lime Graham Gelato in their sandwiches and was impressed.

    2. Wow, mild? The lime flavor in my pint was really assertive. I have tried Ciao Bella's but don't remember it as well as Ben & Jerry's. I'll have to pick up the sandwich version soon.

    3. You guys should also check out Coconut Key Lime from Phin & Phebes if you can find it. It's been my favorite Key Lime based ice cream so far.


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