It's a Date!
by Fiorella Valdesolo, New York Observer contributor, 12/08/2008
328 E. 6th St. • 212-673-3984
Among the spangled Indian restaurants that line Sixth Street's Curry Row lies pocket-size Chiyono. It's easy to miss—there's no eager tout in front—but completely worth seeking out. The interior is a study in Zen-like minimalism, with most seating around one long table in the room's center. The result feels more like someone's home than a restaurant. That's just the way owner/chef Chiyono, a regular presence in the dining room, wants it. Her recipes have been handed down from her mother and grandmother. Even some of the ingredients are family-derived: The plum pickles which flavor the sweet and savory ume rice come straight from mom's garden in Iwaki. The rice is part of the omakase menu, which includes appetizers, soup, an entrée, dessert, and (if you arrive before seven) a drink, and is quite a bargain. Meals begin with items like chewy octopus, shrimp sashimi, black seaweed salad, bits of fried eggplant and lotus root topped with more of mom's pickled plums, followed by a peppery cream of burdock soup scattered with parsley. Fried and battered chicken cream croquettes are dangerously good. Dessert is treated with the same reverence as the preceding courses. A long platter arranged with three selections—a fried dough topped with peaches, a spring roll stuffed with bananas and red bean paste, and an oddly delicious sesame pudding—comes with a steaming cup of green sencha.
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