Hiroko’s Place

The unfamiliar outline of a siphon—a brewing device popular in Europe and Asia—adorns one of the flags marking this contemporary Japanese teahouse. Drops of fabric embroidered with abstract sketches of women drape the front windows and the tiled interior, while Japanese periodicals, art books, and international fashion magazines splay across tables framed by mismatched sofas and chairs. The relaxed and homey vibe extends into the kitchen where Hiroko’s mom, dad, and brother (Hiroko prepares and serves the tea and coffee) whip up American snacks with Asian inflections: pizza toast, spaghetti with Japanese wieners, and a variety of gratins made sweetly pink by ketchup. Asian purists can opt for an addictive omelet filled with rice pilaf and covered in rich beef and vegetable curry, or lighter fare like an avocado or mushroom salad. Befitting a teahouse, the brewed beverages are top-notch. But if you’re looking for a nostalgic trip back to the Far East, snuggle up to the old Sony for pre-recorded Fuji Television Network shows like Smap x Smap, a nineties Japanese variety show, while sipping a float made of vanilla ice cream, club soda, and phosphorescent-green melon syrup. — Alexandra Vallis