Matcha’s moment in the health-food spotlight is not even close to over, thanks to its powerhouse antioxidant content and non-jittery energy-boosting ability (and our obsession).
So it’s no surprise that in addition to its growing popularity as a ceremonially whisked cafe beverage—served everywhere from trendy Nolita spots like Egg Shop and The Butcher’s Daughter to Starbucks—it’s now starring in desserts and cocktails around Manhattan.
“I actually didn’t realize how matcha-crazy New Yorkers could get until these matcha cafés started popping up around the city,” says Jen Yee, head pastry chef at Andrew Carmellini’s super popular Noho spot Lafayette. Yee was exposed to matcha early in life and has always loved it, but the strong, uncommon flavor kept her from using it in recipes—until now. “Now that more people are on the matcha wagon, I can unshackle my green tea recipes and put them on the menu,” she says.
What that’s resulted in is everything from matcha macarons to Boule Matcha, a pastry filled with matcha cream and fresh blueberries. And, like Yee, a handful of other NYC eateries are giving you equally good reason to order matcha off their dessert menus.
And no, it won’t be quite as wholesome as sipping it plain, but we’re really okay with that. —Meghan Rabbitt
(Photo: Juice Generation)
Even though green tea and jasmine green tea soft serve have been on the all-things-goat-milk menu at Victory Garden, when the owners added matcha, sales took off. First, they debuted a matcha smoothie with miso caramel sauce. Then came straight-up matcha soft serve. What are they offering now? Don’t miss the matcha-pistachio soft serve blend. The pistachios make the green color even richer and add a nutty flavor to the refreshing, if a little bitter, flavor. $4.75–$6.75, 31 Carmine St., West Village, www.victorygardennyc.com
Dessert isn’t exactly a thing at most sushi spots in the city, but you’ll think differently about that after ordering the delicious green tea s’mores—made with homemade matcha brownies and marshmallows—at this Flatiron neighborhood fave. Just want the brownies? They’re also available at Snowdays Shavery (for $3) in the East Village. $10, 46 W. 22nd St., Flatiron District, www.mirasushi.com
It’s officially time to praise the baked-good gods: Juice Generation’s in-house baker created this scrumptious, energy-boosting donut using her signature gluten-free, vegan dough and a hefty dose of matcha powder (it’s the first ingredient!). Even better, this donut is baked instead of fried, so you’re barely even indulging. $3, locations throughout the city, www.juicegeneration.com
(Photo: Juice Generation)
Okay, this one isn’t a dessert, but it’s definitely a treat—with a fun story behind it, too. The partners who created lofty little cocktail spot The Garret are also behind skin-care line DAILĒ, and when they were designing a cocktail for a product shoot at the bar, they realized matcha has a ton of anti-aging benefits (like their moisturizer). They mixed it with gin, Combier, lemon, egg whites, and fresh basil and posted a shot of the vibrant green drink on Instagram, where “people went kind of nuts,” says co-partner Cyndi Ramirez. “We were like, ‘Hmmm, I guess people really love matcha.’” The First Lady was on the menu the following week and has been a hit ever since. $14, 296 Bleecker St., West Village, www.garretnyc.com
In-the-know New Yorkers have been flocking to Andrew Carmellini’s Noho hotspot for its fresh take on French cuisine since it opened two years ago, and for Jen Yee’s buzzed-about bakery, featuring baguettes, croissants, and all kinds of matcha goodness. Yee has offered matcha macarons and the restaurant’s signature pâte á choux pastry filled with light matcha tea cream and fresh blueberries in the past, and now she’s serving up this petit gateau, which features a matcha tea mousse, strawberry-lychee center, and almond streusel base. $6, 380 Lafayette Street, Noho, www.lafayetteny.com