Monday, January 26, 2009

A Perfect Teahouse

Restaurant Name: Cha An Japanese Tea House
Restaurant Location: 230 E. 9th Street, New York City

Our friends Aaron and Lisa introduced us to Cha An Japanese Tea House not long ago, and ever since I have been thinking back fondly on the experience.

Located in the East Village, not far from St. Marks Place, Cha An feels like a secret, special discovery. Up the narrow staircase from the street you'll find a tiny vestibule sheltering a small bench enclosed by bamboo. If you've had the bad fortune to arrive once the place is full (easy to accomplish since Cha An is tinsy-weensy), you will develop a close and special relationship with this bench during your long wait (Cha An's atmosphere invites lingering and patrons are in no hurry to vacate the precious tables).

Once seated you are in for a treat. Cha An has a lovely menu that centers around - as you might surmise - teas. Each is described in detail (there is even a map showing where different teas come from and so on and so forth) and all are equally hard to chose from. There are tons of selections, including herbal, black, green, and white teas. All are prepared and served differently and in the manner most suited to the particular tea you have selected. They are NOT messing around here.

There is also a small menu of savory and sweet delights. I should disclose at this juncture that I am wildly, uncontrollably addicted to mochi. Cha An offers a mochi treat so ridiculously, fantabulously good that I am shuddering ever-so-slightly in delight just thinking about it. Appealing to the chocolate-lover in me, this mochi dessert is filled with tea-infused dark chocolate truffle. I deem it Absurdly Good.

As the winter draws in tigher and more cruelly around us, I find myself thinking about Cha An all the time....and wishing that it was located around the corner from my apartment!

Cha-An on Urbanspoon

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