The Edible Guide

Our picks for where to eat, drink and shop in the city.

Té Company

One of the first things Elena Liao of Té Company will show you at her tiny tearoom on West 10th Street is a yellowed map of Taiwan. She’ll point out a few of the lesser-known tea-producing regions and have you pull up a chair to taste some oolongs. Sometimes, she’ll even share pictures of the growers and their farms and throw in a bit of Bond-like intrigue about stolen cultivars. The map hangs next to a corner reading nook in tribute to Bonnie Slotnick, whose legendary cookbook shop once occupied the space. When Té moved in, Liao and husband Frederico Ribeiro, a former sous-chef at Per Se, invited Slotnick and her old neighbors over for a potluck. Village locals stop in regularly, including a florist who showers Té with a few blooms on his weekly rounds.

Té is far from tea and scones at the Plaza. The small menu features European-inspired snacks like anchovy- and mustard-coated watermelon radish prepared by Ribeiro, a Portuguese native who makes his own sourdough bread daily. Every few weeks, Liao and Ribeiro turn their laid-back tearoom into a nightspot for “Dinner at Bonnie’s”—a sophisticated, multi-course feast for eight diners per night (nine tops) that includes several tea pairings chosen by Liao.

This quiet, unassuming pair ranks among a relatively small enclave of independent New York tea companies that have developed deep, direct relationships with farmers in targeted regions around the world. You might even say they’re on a mission to bring harder-to-find premium teas and centuries-old traditions to the Big Apple in a way that feels fresh, easy-going and modern. —Rachel Safko

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