Traditional Taiwanese Takes Hold at New York City’s Carma East

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This restaurant hits all the right notes

Ma po tofu is a specialty.

The second outpost of the West Village’s Carma Asian Tapas restaurant recently opened in the East Village on 6th Street in New York City. The urban, artsy, cozy Carma East is a perfect location for a cold night out with friends, splitting a variety of dim sum, small plates and a bevy of alcoholic beverages.

Everything from their casual bar seating to their wall fixtures and paintings, which one most notably claims “Let the lights dim sum,” sets an inviting mood that welcomes patrons to dine and stay. The inventive, yet traditional menu was created by the Executive Chef of Taiwan’s renowned Din Tai Fung, James (Yue Cong) Yang.

Yang’s menu hits all the high notes his traditional Taiwanese dumplings with a twist. At Carma East, you can try inventive dumplings like his foie gras soup dumplings or his sautéed diced fish with black pepper laughing dumplings—a staple on most tables at the restaurant. He also spices things up with his twist on spicy braised pork tacos for those who like a bit of a kick. Chef also includes his three cup chicken dish in which he pays homage to one of the most often cooked dishes in Taiwan.

Yet some of the most satisfying and comforting dishes coming out of Yang’s kitchen are the most simplistic, namely the Taiwanese crispy chicken and the crispy mixed mushrooms. Simply fried, bite-sized and perfect to eat with your fingers, these tasty morsels are the perfect way to start your meal and pair perfectly with a nice glass of dry white wine, among many other cocktails.

The restaurant also offers a host of vegetarian and gluten free options that are labeled and displayed clearly on the menu. You might also see some lighter dishes that pair well with the saltiness of the crispy chicken or mushrooms, which include the lotus root and celery salad topped with pomegranate. And on a very cold winter’s day, a bowl of the warm, scrumptious Taiwanese beef noodle soup, will surely always do the trick.

The menu and its execution of Carma East is spot-on, leaving East Village patrons and those venturing for this delightfully authentic experience, a real taste of Taiwan.