These days the scoop everyone is screaming for is the strawberry ice cream at Antico. Since it opened last summer the east Larchmont Village trattoria has garnered acclaim for both its pastas and its ice creams, which have drawn food-world glitterati like Grant Achatz and Ruth Reichl to its rustic dining room. When restaurants had to cease dine-in operations in mid-March amid the pandemic, Antico pivoted dramatically, transforming into a focaccia pizzeria and ice cream joint that’s proved quite popular.
“It’s all in all a really great success,” says chef-owner Chad Colby. On a busy Saturday the shop sells as many as 300 pints of ice cream, which is the work of master pastry chef Brad Ray and ranges in price from $14 for honeycomb to $20 for the renowned strawberry.
Colby, the former executive chef at Nancy Silverton’s Chi Spacca, says his old boss was quite impressed with Ray’s ice cream when she tried it. Silverton has “almost like an upset reaction when things are really good within her wheelhouse,” he says. “You could tell that there was some of that with the ice cream. It’s really good.”
What makes it so great? Colby and Ray say it’s all about attention to detail. Here, a breakdown of how the amazing strawberry flavor is made.
Ray makes a traditional fior di latte base from sugars, milk powder, a stabilizer, Diamond Crystal kosher salt, and milk and cream from Clover Sonoma’s dairy—but no eggs. “I think it allows the ice cream flavor to be cleaner,” he says of his yolkless custard. Ray also notes that he uses a decent amount of salt to balance the sweetness of the strawberries and sometimes employs a refractometer to test the sweetness.
The ice cream uses strawberries from Harry’s Berries, an Oxnard farm with a devoted following for its uniquely sweet and juicy fruit. They’re “the best strawberries in the country,” says Colby. Ray purees them, raw with sugar, and folds them into the base. The ice cream served to diners eating in is completely smooth, but for the packaged product, Ray adds chunkier macerated strawberries for texture.
Antico relies on a top-of-the-line Carpigiani ice cream maker from Italy. It’s “literally the Ferrari of ice cream machines,” says Colby, who personally financed the $16,000 appliance after Ray, a top talent who has worked at Eleven Madison Park and the NoMad, came aboard. “If I were to purchase a shitty ice cream machine, it’d be like [hiring] a race-car driver” without a Ferrari for him to drive, Colby says.
4653 Beverly Blvd., Larchmont
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