The focus of the menu at the recently opened Yuba in the East Village is, as you would expect, yuba—best known as tofu skin or beancurd sheet. Prices are high at dinner, but a $16 lunch prix fixe makes it a more affordable lunch option. (However, none of the options on the prix fixe feature yuba, which might defeat the purpose of visiting the restaurant in the first place.)
You're better off composing lunch from a few small dishes. Start with the Yuba and Mushrooms ($12), a warm dish of fried and braised yuba, the many individual layers of tofu skin pressed together to form what might be more familiar to others as "mock" duck or chicken primarily featured in Asian vegetarian dishes. A tangle of sliced shitake and enoki mushrooms are layered above with a thin, soy-based sauce to tie it all together. My only regret was not ordering a side of hot white rice, the ideal starch to pair with this dish. Follow with a selection of rolls, including one of miso-tofu, avocado and a little spoonful of creamy yuba ($10) on top of each piece. The combination of that trio makes for pure luxury, each bite borderline buttery in texture. We'll be back to try more dishes—I've got my eye on foie gras and duck in steamed buns, and sweet corn with shiso tempura. Desserts are from Lady M (including their signature mille crepe in green tea), and service is courteous, if slow at times.
About the author: Originally from Honolulu, Kathy YL Chan writes A Passion For Food, where she chronicles her eats and travels adventures between Hawai'i, New York and beyond. She firmly believes that there is always room for dessert.