Downtown Jersey City is quickly becoming an “it” destination for foodies, and while most out-of-towners will focus on Newark Avenue and its surrounding area, there’s another spot on Bay Street and Marin that deserves your attention. It’s called Bucket & Bay Gelato and after sampling a few of their gelatos, I think it’s the most promising dessert/gelato shop I’ve visited on either side of the Hudson in years.
Like most new establishments in Jersey City, Bucket & Bay is focusing on whole, simple, unadulterated ingredients. That means they use milk from grass-fed cows, herbs/spices grown in their own backyard, and fruits that are currently in-season. And believe me when I say you can taste the difference.
Design-wise, the space is considerably large with a nice open kitchen, plenty of natural light, and a wide counter with plenty of seating. They also provide complimentary WiFi for customers. The owners are very welcoming and rightfully proud of their creations. They really encourage you to sample multiple flavors, so don’t be shy about asking for a taste because you’re bound to like more than just one flavor. On a recent visit, I sampled a variety of their gelato flavors including dark chocolate, purple sticky rice, and mango smoked cardamom. I ended up getting a regular-sized, three scoop cup of the latter for $5.50. Single scoops cost $4.25, large (4 scoops) $6.25, and a pint goes for $12. A tad pricey, but it’s really worth it. Another gelato that I sampled and initially thought was odd — pineapple cilantro — was actually among my favorites with all the sweetness of a pineapple, but a refreshing cilantro finish.
However, where Bucket & Bay really kicks things up a notch is with their alcohol-infused gelatos. Their Black Label Vanilla (made with real vanilla beans and infused with Johnny Walker) is an ingenious combination that pairs remarkably well. Wine lovers should also try Bucket & Bay’s Strawberry and Port gelato, which is made with sweet, local strawberries that are enhanced by the flavors of port wine.
In addition to the gelatos, Bucket & Bay carries pastries from Choc-O-Pain ($2.75 to $3.75) and coffee from ModCup. They also have a special spin on cold brew coffee ($3.25), which is a must for coffee drinkers. I only had a sample during my visit, but it was fantastic. Poured like a Guinness and tasting like a frizzy espresso, it’s the perfect drink to start or end your summer day.
There’s a lot going on at Bucket & Bay and my first impression is really just a sample of what they have to offer. They’re taking gelato-making to an entirely new level and should be high on your list of must-try Jersey City spots.
Bucket & Bay Craft Gelato | 150 Bay Street (btwn Marin & Provost) | www.bucketandbay.com