Only on the menu for the months of October and November, this Pumpkin Custard ($8) is the autumn highlight at Cha-An.
'Cha-An' on Serious Eats
There are not many Japanese restaurants in NYC that make mochi in-house—the sort of fresh, plush, and just chewy enough mochi that I crave. So I often find myself visiting Cha-An when said craving strikes.
Cha-An is known for Japanese-inspired desserts, encompassing flavors such as sakura, matcha, and black sesame. But do not overlook the Chocolate Souffle ($9), a mainstay on the sweets menu.
For the food alone, afternoon tea isn't a steal. With prices starting in the 20s and running up to the 50s, taking tea is more of a special treat where you pay for the atmosphere as much as the food. And, of course, the luxury to lounge around for hours with no bother—an experience that is well worth it. Today we give you our eight favorite places for afternoon tea in New York, from luxurious hotels to casual tea shops.
The pastry chefs at Cha-An love using puff pastry; that one component plays an important part in a good number of their desserts.
Sweet Potato Apple Cake ($9) is a new dessert on Cha-An's winter menu. It's sort of a pie-meets-tarte tatin, elegant and quiet.
At Cha-An, the Earl Grey Flan ($7.50) occasionally appears on the specials menu—but even if you don't see it there, ask the waitress and she just might have a few extra hiding in the kitchen.
Who doesn't like cream? Freshly whipped, thick and barely sweetened is how I prefer it, whether it's topping off a lush banana cream pie at Blue Smoke Bake Shop or served atop the chocolate mousse from Buvette. But it's excellent in all forms, including at Otto, where you get straight-up cream in the form of the Huckleberry-Mascarpone Cream Gelato. Break out the spoons!
The Red Bean Butter Toast ($9) at Cha-An is substantial enough to count as a meal, so keep that in mind when you order. A three inch-tall cut of a remarkably pillowy soft bread is housemade and slightly sweet; it's given a light toast in the oven and topped with mashed and then whipped tsubushian, otherwise known as sweetened red bean paste.
Matcha is an incredibly versatile ingredient, and New York restaurants and cafes have made good use of its potential. From warm matcha and buckwheat drinks to chocolate miso cakes topped with a matcha shiro-an, the possibilities are endless. Here are five matcha sweets we love. Let us know if we've missed your favorites!
Ice cream, sorbets, and gelati. They're hardly the main focus of restaurant desserts, but often play an important supporting role, without which the dessert would not be nearly as good. From a quenelle of bold sake ice cream to pair with tempura rice pudding at 15 East, to ginger-lime ice cream and sticky toffee pudding (finished with fresh grated lime zest!) at Veritas, click through to find the five restaurant desserts we love where the ice cream is just as good as the star of the plate.
We've mentioned Cha-An frequently in the past, most often for the lunch deal and sweet takes on classic Japanese desserts. A little-known offering at Cha-An is the Afternoon Tea, perhaps the cheapest in the city at $18 per person.
There are times when it seems like you just can't do a decent sit down Japanese restaurant for $10 or less. And then you meet Cha-An and its $10 lunch menu and swear that this must be the best Japanese lunch deal in the city.
For lunch today, winter commands "Set A" from Cha-An, a $16 prix fixe centered around one cozy bowl of porridge. It's a 15-grain rice porridge, and includes (among many other grains) red and brown rice, buckwheat, barley, and millet. It's the sort of dish you want after a hectic day or when you feed a need to revive your health.
[Photo: Kathy YL Chan] At Cha An, a precise and neatly composed bowl of Zenzai ($8.50) starts with chilled matcha soup, bright and slightly sweetened, a trio of shiratama at the base, little orbs of chewy mochi balls. Above...
[Photo: Kathy YL Chan] We have featured Cha An once before on this Lunch for One column, but we're back again with a look at their recently launched Summer Special lunch sets. The set runs $17 and includes any...
[Photo: Kathy YL Chan] During summer I consume cold matcha-based drinks as frequently as I do coffee-based drinks—and at the top of my list is the Matcha Float ($7) from Cha An, where the drink easily doubles as dessert....
[Photo: Kathy YL Chan] At Cha-An in the East Village, a trio of cookies ($2 each) are an ideal accompaniments to a cup of afternoon tea. Dusty, crumbly shortbreads, sugar-dusted, in flavors of Black Sesame, Chocolate, and Matcha. The...
Today's lunch recommendation? Head to Cha-An in the East Village for lunch—in particular, Bento Set "B" ($19). It will give you a wide taste of the menu, dessert and tea included. You will leave quite satisfied. The meal begins...