Tuesday, December 19, 2006


How do you say “wow” in Japanese?

As dessert bars become nearly as common as corner pubs in Manhattan, they have to distinguish themselves somehow. It appears the three partners of Kyotofu, the latest dessert destination, have done just that. Not only does the Hell’s Kitchen gem specialize in Japanese desserts, but they use soy as the base of most of their exquisite creations.

The rotating menu is short and sweet, making the most of fresh and seasonal ingredients like lychee and mochi. Sansho-pepper cheesecake ($10), for example, is made with homemade tofu, with hints of candied ginger leaving a tangy aftertaste. Black sesame sweet tofu with hoji-cha tea syrup ($8) hits just the right note of sweetness. And bite-sized cookies use okara, a form of soybean, to create moistness and texture that would make Martha proud. Each dessert is artfully composed, making it both a pity to destroy and irresistible to sample.

The proof of Kyotofu’s superiority isn’t just in the (soy-based) pudding. It’s also in the flatware and teapots, the white leather banquets and cherry-stained floors, the backlit walls and retro music. In other words, Kyotofu takes design almost as seriously as dessert. So even though they’re adding takeout items to the menu, do yourself a favor and make it a ritual to dine in-house.

705 Ninth Avenue

No comments: