East Village loveliness: Kyo Ya + Stogo

I eat a lot of sushi. And while it’s really nice to go to a fancy place where the fish has been caught and sliced an hour before it found its way between my chopsticks, I’m really not that fussy about my sushi joints. Order me some sashimi and a veggie roll and I’m a happy camper. However, “real” Japanese food is an all together different experience, as I recently learned from an impromptu date night at Kyo Ya.

Hubs and I headed down to the East Village, knowing we’d find something good on 7th Street. On a whim, we walked down a flight of stairs to the serene little Japanese restaurant, and were so blown away by the menu that we snagged 2 seats at the bar for dinner. We also figured that it was a great sign that nearly all the other diners were Japanese. Along with some prosecco (for me, clearly) and some sake (for Hubs… I think most sake tastes like rubbing alcohol), here’s what we shared for dinner:

Ohitashi: boiled watercress and spring shitake mushroom in cold dashi broth

The ohitashi was a really light way to start the meal, and get in some greens early on. I would have preferred it be like 800 times larger, but I’m a greedy veggie eater. (Fatal flaw. Sorry I’m not that sorry.)

Goma tofu gratin: creamy seame tofu with crab and vegetables

The wildcard dish, tofu gratin, was this warm, super creamy thing, like no tofu I’ve ever had. Throw in some crab meat and veggies, pour on some sweet soy glaze, and you have yourself an addictive little skillet of food. This was my favorite dish of the dinner.

Snapper Chazuke: rice, snapper sashimi, and toppings with hoji tea

Next up, a main course that ended up being sort of a ceremonial assembly line creation. First, you serve yourself some rice into a little bowl, then add a slab or 2 of snapper sashimi.

Then, add any all fixins from the tray of toppings (radish, scallion, seaweed, wasabi, and ginger) atop that mound.

Finally, pour a little bit of hot tea over the whole ordeal and try your hardest not to just inhale the food. YUM. I love when food comes along with pomp and circumstance.

Black Cod: broiled tsubu miso marinated cod

Last but not least, a big ole piece of miso marinated black cod. This was Hubs’ favorite dish, so I let him have most of it since a) I was really full, and b) I’m a good wifey. It was a really well prepared piece of fish- not overly sweet- just solidly good.

After dinner, we decided to walk it on home since we were so full. I, however, mischievously managed to steer us right past Stogo on E. 10th Street- my favorite vegan ice cream shop. How could we not just get a little something to go? Answer: not possible. Pictured below is the sweetest end to date night dinner-  Bananas foster soy ice cream, sandwiched between 2 oatmeal raisin cookies.

A perfectly lovely East Village date night in the books. I highly recommend trying out both Kyo Ya if creative, authentic Japanese food strikes your fancy, and Stogo for some really amazing non-standard, non-dairy ice cream.  Loveliness I tell ya, loveliness.

What are your favorite date night spots? Anything off the beaten path? 

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