Restaurant Hotspot, Maid Café NY, is far from your everyday establishment. Brought to my attention after SNLs Weekend Update jab, this restaurant of young women in French maid costumes is nothing like they’d hoped you’d interpret it to be like. It’s upbeat, “kawaii” hangout serves typical Japanese fast food. And it’s not your normal fast food of hamburgers and French fries. It’s a fresh prepared option of chicken curry topped with rice, boiled egg, and garnished with Fukujinzuke (finely chopped pickled vegetables used as a relish), or beef bowls consisting of rice topped with beef and onion simmered in a mildly sweet sauce.
But while the food was my main focus on our visit, many others were focused on the maid-esque uniform and décor featured. Inspired by the Akihabara area of Japan where manga, shopping and computer technology reign, maid cafés are innumerable, reaching over 2000. Yet it’s far from Hooters of women walk around breasts out, bums on display serving hot wings and beer to customers. Maid Cafés live by “cos play,” a performance art where participants wear costumes to portray a character. And not to say there aren’t any ogling clientele who want a little more than a nice bubble tea, but from my understanding, it’s not tolerated.
Located in an area of New York where anime and Asian culture thrive, they’ve found a home that people understanding of the concept can gain a sense of nostalgia as well as enjoy delicious food. Oh and the food is delicious, especially the desserts. Most desserts are made by their in-house pastry chef, Shiho, who was taught vegan and vegetarian style cooking from natural food chef Michael Perrine. The matcha cheesecake garnished with red bean topping will melt in your mouth. The warm chocolate brownie will have you question every recipe you’ve ever tried. But the real winner is her Tiramisu. Not overpowered coffee, this traditional Italian treat of lady fingers and mascarpone cheese has the texture of whipped butter cream frosting dusted with coffee powder. It’s light and refreshing, yet satisfies your sweet tooth.
In a prime locale between the celebrity spotting Mecca of TriBeCa and the home of faux-everything, Chinatown, Maid Café NY surrounded by the best of both worlds. With a tranquil coy pond upon entry, guests can enjoy a traditional meal alone or sit amongst strangers at their communal table. Though it’s the only Maid Café stateside, just prepare for the takeover.