Cha-An: St. Marks, Manhattan, NY, NY
I really miss Japan. I really really miss it. Everything is clean, peaceful, well put together, including the eating experiences. I was lucky enough to run into Cha-An one day after shopping at Sunrise Mart for my Japanese groceries. Unfortunately they seemed to be more of a tea and dessert house rather than serving food, but after some research on the internet, I found that they did have a small food selection.
I came here after church just to get some down time for myself. Some people don’t like to dine by themselves, but I’ve actually found pleasure in it from time to time. Cha-An was always on my bucket list to check out after passing by this place several times when walking around St. Marks and especially after grocery shopping at Sunrise. Known for their teas and desserts, I was hoping that they would have a bento lunch option available and they did! I decided to go with the first set as I was pretty hungry that day:
-Today’s Soup (miso)
-Tofu and Seaweed Salad
-Three Daily Side Dishes (tofu with fishcake, shrimp and egg salad, smoked salmon on greens)
-Today’s Special Dessert (it was matcha pudding)
I really liked the bento. It doesn’t seem like that much, but it was actually quite filling. There was a nice balance between vegetarian and meat as well as what I would say is “heavy” with the potato salad and then the “light” side dishes like the tofu. One of the other side dishes is smoked salmon on arugula with a light dijon mustard on top. This was a first for me as I normally do not like nor have I had mustard with smoked salmon. However, it went really well with each other. There was definitely a nice balance and exhibited 和色 pretty well.
You can add a tea selection for an additional $5 which I of course did.
Everything was freshly made as I sat at the bar and looked right into the kitchen. Their tea selection in pretty diverse, and you can see all the teas being prepared.
I definitely want to come back for more desserts: the matcha pudding was on point – I could eat a tub of that in one sitting. I also saw that they had an eel donburi bowl which looked amazing. Being an avid tea lover, I am looking forward to more meals and teas here. All in all, I would give the chakura set ***.85 (3.85 stars). You can find them tucked in a small second-story near Pan-Ya off East 9th Street:
230 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003
Please stop by, especially for dessert and tea! If you’d like to have some with me, please let me know and I’d be happy to meet you there!