George Armstrong Custer had only one chance to make his last stand, but custard lovers can choose from countless Custard’s Last Stands around the country. They’re not related, but for custard sellers, it is an irresistible business name.
The Custard’s Last Stand in Ventnor City, New Jersey, is a summer shoreline favorite. Its menu is much like that of such famous Philly custard places as Rita’s, offering soft-serve (not technically custard), water ice, and a union of the two billed as a “gelati.” We’re big fans of gelati. It taps into the Sicilian genius of serving granita (basically water ice), with whipped cream.
The scoopers are upfront about the fact that of the ices, only the chocolate flavored are made in house. You can taste the difference. They are made with milk and have a richer, less artificial flavor than the neon-colored fruit ices that come from elsewhere. Hard scooped ice cream is also a distraction. It’s good stuff, sure, made by the Shore’s own Richman’s, but it’s homemade treats you want in this place.
The signature flavor is chocolate peanut butter. Though creamy, it’s still very much a water ice — refreshing and enriched with peanut chunks. It offers an egg cream-like balance of chocolate, milk, and water. Mint chip also is good, with little chunks of chocolate suspended in florescent mint ice. This hits the spot on a hot day at the shore.
Orange-cream ice doesn’t taste all that much like cream by itself; after all, it’s a water ice. That makes it the perfect flavor to use in building a gelati, which layers creamy soft-serve with water ice in a parfait.
The soft-serve isn’t really custard, nor is it labeled as such. It’s a very glossy eggless soft-serve that has a silken texture similar to custard. Whatever makes the ice cream that way also makes it nearly impervious to water ice. Even as the soft-serve melts, it stays separate from the ice unless you mash it down with a spoon. A bite with the creamy custard and zesty orange water ice is a very happy combo. Taking some of both on your spoon makes for a splendid take on an orange Creamsicle.