Cha-An Japanese Tea House, 茶庵, is this little place in the East Village whose mission is to allow the customers to “Leave cares behind, enjoy this moment.” My experience was exactly that. Their Black Sesame Crème Brûlée is the best dessert I have ever had in the past few years. The pleasure it delivers, the combination of the texture, the sensation of the ice cream eaten together with the crème brûlée – I felt almost speechless the first time I tried it. All I could say was, “It is soooo good.”
Black Sesame Crème Brûlée: The black sesame crisp on top was both sweet and crunchy. The black sesame ice cream was in the middle and if you dig in deeper, the soft crème brûlée was at the bottom. I used a spoon to scoop up both the ice cream and the crème brûlée; together they made a symphony in my mouth, alternating a scoop of ice cream/crème brûlée with a bite of the crisp. So good. So hard to describe how it made me feel, other than pure happiness and enjoyment.
This is the Homemade Mochi, 麻糬. From left to right: Black Sesame, Green Tea and Earl Grey Chocolate. The level of deliciousness is in the same order of the picture, from high to low: Black Sesame, Green Tea and Earl Grey Chocolate. The chocolate was not very special but the black sesame was dense and yum. See my prior post on Taiwanese Mochi, click here.
This is the Pu-Erh Tea, 普洱茶. This is a fermented tea from the Yunnan province in China. Two of my favorite teas are both fermented: Pu-Erh and Black, 普洱茶和紅茶。 It was nice but was completely outshone by the desserts.
This is the Hojicha, the Japanese Green tea.
Note: Cha-An doesn’t take reservations and is always full. The wait is extremely long the twice I was there. Once you are seated, you are elbow to elbow with the other customers and they sometimes stare at you without shame and eavesdrop on every word of your conversation. When you go, be prepared to stare back and even wink back at the fellow eaters when necessary. Most importantly, be patient! It is worth the wait.
Lastly, A heart-felt thank you to my friend who introduced me to the outstanding Black Sesame Crème Brûlée and the various attempts to get me there.
This experience took place at
Cha-An Japanese Tea House 茶庵
230 E 9th St
New York, NY 10079
Neighborhood: East Village