Kyotofu is best known for turning out beautiful Japanese desserts, but this Hell’s Kitchen hot spot has been steadily adding savory items, and its new spring menu features some surprises on both the sweet and savory fronts.
Delicate homemade tofu has always been a point of pride, but now the bean curd has been incorporated into a slider. Carnivorous types will be pleased to learn that these are no mere veggie burgers; the patties are made from chicken and okara, or soy milk lees. Dressed with shiso leaf, cucumbers, Kewpie mayo and teriyaki sauce, the golden burgers look like tiny tonkatsu, or deep-fried pork cutlets.
Crunchy discs of fried lotus root are a perfect companion for the miniburger trio. Packets of barbecued unagi in buttery phyllo dough were tasty, but it's too bad that the accompanying arima sansho pepper wasn't bright enough to cut through the dish's richness.
Normally the homemade tofu gets the sweet treatment, but the spring menu gives it a savory spin. The whole affair looks like a lunar landscape: a creamy orb drizzled with white truffle oil sits beside a green lake of pureed edamame shot through with soy salt. The cool creamy tofu is wonderful with the edamame puree, but what really makes this dish is the crunchy nuggets of soy salt. They’re the vegetarian version of bacon bits. Turns out that the umami-packed morsels are made from miso that’s been dried in an oven and then sprinkled with salt.
Tofu cheesecake has long been a hallmark here, but the yuzu and blackberry anmitsu, shows yet another application for bean curd: mochi. Anmitsu is the Japanese take on Southeast Asian shaved ice. With its slippery ribbons of yuzu agar, fresh blackberries, sorbet and chewy bits of mochi and fresh blackberries Kytofu’s version doesn’t disappoint.
Kyotofu, 705 9th Ave., 212-974-6012