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10 Great Meals for Under $15 in Hell's Kitchen

Kyotofu

Address: 705 9th Ave.
Websitekyotofu-nyc.com
Best Bet: Chocolate Cake with Miso Mochi ($11)

Kyotofu is an Japanese dessert bar, a place you go when you want to have dinner only as an excuse for the sweets to come. The restaurant's façade is spare and modern, the large front window reveals only a gleaming white counter, which is often overflowing with delicate Asian women slowly sipping sake. But if you can look past them (it's hard for us, too) you'll find a small bakery where Kyotofu serves up award-winning chocolate soufflé cupcakes and yuzu-vanilla poundcake.

Look even further, just hidden from view, and you'll see a space that resembles a warmly lit, cozy igloo where you'll be indulging your all-soybean-everything feast — tender tofu and chicken burger with freshly made sweet potato chips ($14), to a sake-infused mac and cheese made with creamy gruyere and a crunchy panko crust ($12).

You're really here for the desserts, though. The warm chocolate cake with miso mochi ($11) is ultra-moist, deliciously-dense, and swimming in saikyo miso caramel. It's a dessert big enough to share but so damn good that you'll curse anyone who dares point their fork in its direction.

Another standout is their sweet tofu selection, which changes with the seasons. At the moment, they have a sage syrup drizzled, spiced pumpkin panna cotta ($9) that literally tastes like a silky spoonfull of Autumn.

This is a place you take a date to get her tipsy on lychee martinis (1/2 price, 7-9 p.m.), while you leave buzzing with the deal you just sealed. A happy female under your arm and gratis cupcakes to-go? Looks like Kyotofu just became your new wingman.


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