230 East 9th Street
New York, New York 10003
Contact | 212.228.8030
The most punishing critic for New York restaurants is time, and is this regard, Cha-An has proven worthy. Long past the stage of buzzy debuts and celebrity sightings, the quiet East Village parlor has rested, tranquil and unassuming, on the second floor of a narrow shop off 9th street for a decade now.
It’s a Japanese tea parlor as its finest, at least by New York City standards. Every aspect, from its decor to its menu item, exudes a sort of modern tradition.
First let me say I got to drink my matcha latte like soup. It came in a bowl, and I got to drink it with a spoon, like soup. That’s the way it should be. Warm, velvety matcha with a dollop of sweet red-bean paste hidden at the bottom. How can I go back to drinking green tea straight from a cup?
That’s a must-order. As is the tea-smoked salmon on toast. Luscious sashimi mixed with arugula heaped on top of a thick cut of milk bread. Upon seeing it I thought there was no way I was going to finish that toast, but it goes so well with the tangy salad that it’ll inevitably disappear from your plate.
Desserts here will be hard to narrow down, and they’re yet another reason why you can revisit this place over and over again.
We tried the homemade mochi, which were seriously artfully crafted with a thin fluffy casing of mochi wrapped around three different flavors of melt-in-your-mouth truffle-like flavors.
You can’t really go wrong with the eateries on this block. But for something especially refined, as if a little of slice of Japan just happened to land on the city, this is the place.