Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Radiance Tea House

Radiance Tea House is the only place in Midtown that I know of that specializes in various teas and also offers a full menu of food.  I haven't been to Radiance in well over a year, and knew it was time to re-visit. PC, AP, and I walked over from the office to have tea and lunch. Radiance is a great find in midtown. The staff is friendly, the atmosphere is comfortable, and most importantly, they have a wonderful selection of tea. Three tea menus, to be exact!

my oolong leaves
I was craving an oolong, and chose the Dong Ding oolong. A few months back I had been gifted an incredible canister of Dong Ding (it is sadly long gone), and I was looking for that smooth, deep flavor. The Dong Ding I had at Radiance is a mellow, soothing oolong. It had a buttery smoothness, with a soft vegetal flavor while still holding the lovely roasty, nutty, gentle smoky flavor that I love from oolong. I don't know how long it was steeped, but it was perfectly smooth and flavorful. Not the least bit over-brewed. This is a tea that could have held up to more steepings, but we had a limited time for lunch and I had to say goodbye to the beautiful leaves. I had toyed with the idea of asking to take the leaves with me, but then chickened out.

my tea
PC's white peony
PC had the White Peony tea- I hate to admit it, but I've only had white tea once before, years ago. I didn't care for it, and haven't tried it since. The version I had previously was very weak, and tasted like an herbal tea. This white tea was very different, and it opened my eyes to a new type of tea! It had a jasmine-like aroma, but did not have a floral taste at all. It was bright, slightly earthy and nutty, with a hint of sweetness. It had a stronger flavor than I ever would have expected. PC felt that "Though it smelled slightly floral, almost like jasmine, it didn’t taste like that, which is good because I’m not big on floral notes. I liked the subtle earthiness of it." I will be exploring white teas a bit more in the future, and will dedicate a longer, more informative post to it.

AP had the 'tea of the day' which was a jasmine green. Whenever he visits Radiance, he always picks the tea of the day, because, " it is always good – and I can never decide from the pages and pages of different teas they serve" I didn't taste his tea, but AP enjoyed it.

my oolong leaves
The food here is a bit pricey, but it pairs well with many different types of tea. The service is definitely on the slow side, but lends itself to the peacefulness you feel as you sit with your tea. It sounds cliche, but Radiance is a true oasis in midtown Manhattan. It is a lovely place to relax and savor a quality cup of tea. They also have beautiful teaware for sale, which is very tempting for me. I try to focus on the tea, or else I'd end up purchasing numerous teapots, gaiwans, and cups. We had a pleasant lunch hour at Radiance, and it reminded me that I need to return again very soon.

Radiance Tea House and Books ~ 58 West 55th Street NY, NY 10019

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