"She just took my empty glass and skipped away. She skipped away. That's too cute. I can't handle it," one customer of New York's first Maid Cafe gushed over a very regal parfait. As he turned around, the waitress caught his sidelong glance and, smiling shyly, giggled at him, sending him into a fit of smiles. "Welcome home, master!" the maids cooed to customers walking in.

Serving up heart-shaped rice balls, crepes, and other sweets and savories, the bring-you-to-tears adorable girls at NY Maid cafe (opened summer 2013 in Chinatown) have certainly attracted an audience. Young women in pink pinafores, white petticoats, aprons, and bows traipse around the cafe, taking orders and delivering food to a very responsive clientele. The cafe is typically full of 25 to 30-year-old men who are unafraid to admit that it was not, in fact, the Japanese curry that brought them there. One burly fitness trainer explained between mouthfuls of crepe: "I've seen them in anime videos before. The girls are acting so cute. I'm, like, really into that. My girlfriend's also Japanese and really cute."

These maid cafes typically cater to what the Japanese call otaku (read: nerds), who pride themselves on an encyclopedic knowledge of anime and crippling agoraphobia—exempting, of course, the occasional outing to voyeuristically gaze at some young, submissive, costumed women.

The interior of the cafe is like some combination between child nursery and Victorian drawing room. A chandelier shines on pink and pastel green walls, outlined by lace curtains. But the main attraction is not exactly the interior design—or the food, for that matter (be ready for a very, very long wait).

When I asked a maid if she could answer a few questions, she shot me a cripplingly adorable smile and blushed, wondering out loud, "Oh my gosh, is my hair still cute?" before wandering away to form more heart-shaped rice balls.

Maid cafes originated in Akihabara, Tokyo, a district known for its stories-tall anime and manga (Japanese comic book) shops. NY Maid Cafe is nothing but a castrated version of the "cosplay" restaurants (costume restaurants) over there. Some maid cafes in Tokyo offer cleaning services (is your ear wax in check?) and massages (as long as all of your clothes are on). Waitresses will often chant "spells" over drinks so they'll taste good for their "masters." Cafe Cos-Cha in Tokyo has a "school swimsuit" day and spoon-feeding services starting at ¥500. Royal Milk Cafe in Tokyo offers "Soul Care": 90 minutes of one-on-one talk with a maid for ¥9,000, which CNN points out is more expensive than a private English lesson.

Yeah, Freud would be very excited about this.

Cecilia D'Anastasio/Gothamist

To ward off creepy otaku, one Tokyo maid cafe advertises the Ten Commandments of maid cafe service. Aside from keeping your greasy chocolate-crusted fingers off the maids, the commandments ordain that you cannot ask for the maid's phone number or e-mail, follow her out, or engage with her at all before or after her shift.

Maid cafes in New York could lead us down a slippery slope toward more, um, obscure Japanese cafe themes. One VICE reporter recently delved deep into the Japanese underground cafe culture, reluctantly stopping by a "cuddle cafe," which he describes as "what looks like a day care center for toddlers where grown-ups can lie down and talk to strangers about their feelings." It's hard enough to find a date these days—why not just skip to the cry-in-each-others-arms bit?

NY Maid Cafe, to your pleasure or dismay, is not so explicitly catering to perverts—although they do have a "Love Note Book" for customers to communicate their depraved ramblings if need be (the book reads, "Masters, princesses, we will be awaiting for your arrival!"). The cafe offers open mic nights on Tuesdays and the maids do sometimes participate in card games, but that's it, folks.

If you're wondering if you should feel horrified, you ought to know that this "Lolita-style" Japanese fashion (including Victorian-style clothing and maid costumes) actually originated as a backlash to the overly sexualized objectification of women. Jezebel published a letter from one such "Lolita" girl, which explains that "Lolita is incredibly female-positive in that it takes these traditionally female signifiers like lace and bows and makes them ultra-visible in a deliberately subversive way...We certainly do not do this for the attention of men."

If we're going to go down this road, I'd prefer the Japanese-style cat cafes, which are coffee shops where you can pay an hourly fee to relax with some felines and pick cat hair out of your teeth. But if the idea of being waited on by lace-clad cuties who cater to (some of) your whims strikes your fancy, here's the address below!

150 Centre Street, (775) 386-2692; maidcafeny.com