When you order tea at Kyo-Ya in the East Village, you’re presented with a basket of six clear jars. Each is filled with loose leaf samples of the teas available on the menu – you’re invited to open each jar and sniff. I found this to be a lovely way to pick tea, a nice hands-on break from relying on a waiter’s description of the tea.
The teas are divided as follows:
Left, Japanese Teas: Kaiseki Hojicha and Chiran Kanaya Midori
Center, Chinese Teas: Flower Craft and Golden Oolong
Right, Herbal Teas: Soba Cha and Lemon Verbena
We went with the Kaiseki Hojicha, a roasted, nutty green tea. It’s my go-to dinner tea at Japanese restaurants.
What I like about Kyo-Ya is that you can go all out with the kaiseki tasting menu (a crazy incredible tasting menu…check out the sashimi, goodness) or do casual dinners and you know, order a mountain of uni. Two takes on monkfish liver, raw and smoked, if you desire!
Reservations are ideal, though with that said we walk in at 10pm on a weekend and were seated with a 15-minute wait. In the mood for a light dinner we shared dishes from both the regular menu and the seasonal menu:
Yuba and Tofu Nabe…
…this was a particularly interactive dish. We were given bowls of salt and roasted shoyu. Cut the tofu and use the salt or shoyu to season. Don’t drink the liquid in the pot. After you’re done with the tofu, pour a different container of shoyu and scallions into the hot liquid. Put the lid back on the pot and let sit for 10 seconds. The liquid turns into yuba (soft tofu skin) and you pick it out with chopsticks. Heavenly!
We finished with the best Hojicha Ice Cream in NYC. Two little soybean cookies to accompany. Ideal closure to the meal as we did start dinner with Hojicha tea ;)
94 E 7th Street
New York, NY 10079