Ice-cream shops peddling artisanal flavors are a dime a dozen in SF, but few of them go to the trouble of making their own base, the composition of egg yolks, sugar, milk and cream that underpins the ice cream, from scratch. (Bi-Rite, Humphry Slocombe, and many other shops buy a premade organic base from Straus, to which they add ingredients.) One exception: Federico Murtagh of the East Bay's Lush Gelato, who's launching his third shop today at 1817 Polk St. (between Jackson and Washington).
At the Nob Hill Lush outpost, Murtagh will offer 12 rotating gelato flavors, including ricotta lemon zest, fresh mint chocolate chip, lemon sorbetto, bourbon Butterfinger, and popcorn truffle. He sources local and organic ingredients as much as possible, from Cowgirl Creamery fromage blanc to Yerena Farms strawberries, and by making his own base, he's able to subtly adjust flavors that would otherwise have to stay at a certain level. (For example, a honey gelato made from a premixed base can't have too much honey added to it, because the added sugar would make it too sweet; by making his own base, Murtagh can adjust the sugar content downwards, allowing for a more honey-driven sweetness.) Lush also makes its own waffle cones, another local rarity.
The petite Polk Street space has a handful of tables inside, but with SF's Indian summer weather in full force, it might be best to take it on a stroll. For now, hours are daily, 12-10 pm, and until 11 pm on Friday and Saturday; they may stay open later in the future if demand is high.