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Kyotofu

by Ami Kealoha in Food + Drink on 21 September 2007

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When we were putting together our tofu video, Tim mentioned Kyotofu, the Manhattan tofu restaurant opened in October 2006 that's reinventing tofu for the American palate with their delicious assortment of desserts and savory dishes. We contacted owners Nicole Bermensolo and Michael Berl, longtime friends from college, and recently found ourselves in their minimalist jewel box of a dining room, enjoying treats like chicken-tofu sliders with shiso and cucumber, sparkling sake and tofu cheesecake.

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Bermensolo and Berl both quit their jobs at JP Morgan after many visits to Japan, including time logged at a friend's family-run tofu factory in the city of Kyoto. As a result, their restaurant really flaunts the versatility of their chosen medium (which they make daily on site), offering a range of textures from delicate and creamy to cakey and rich. Both Tim and I were fans of the mousse-like consistency and smoky flavor of the black sesame tofu served with hoji-cha roasted green tea syrup. The dense, moist chocolate cupcake also won us over (and New York Magazine as well) for its intense chocolate flavor and for the fact that we totally didn't miss the frosting.

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For simplicity, nothing beats nibbling on the smooth, light signature tofu's silkiness, an experience not unlike sampling a more refined panna cotta. A similar savory dish, features authentic, rare soy sauces that we couldn't get enough of.

Even after countless desserts, the low sugar content and minimal use of dairy (some of the treats are vegan) left us feeling surprisingly healthier. The soothing interior's Japanese aesthetics also contributed to an overall sense of well-being. Here's to tofu.

Kyotofu
705 Ninth Avenue
New York, NY 10019 map
tel. +1 212 974 6012

Photos by Jerry Errico

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