Our recent post on the Taipei Tea House Built from Reused Materials made us happy to remember a favorite spot closer to home. Té Company in New York’s Greenwich Village is a tiny, hushed tea room run by Taiwanese tea connoisseur Elena Liao and her husband, chef Frederico Ribeiro, formerly of Per Se. Barely marked, the establishment is something like a speakeasy for those in the know. John Derian, whose Christopher Street shop is around the corner, tipped off Julie and me. That’s how we found ourselves wandering from John’s emporium with its vintage cabbage rose wallpaper and shell-encrusted fireplace to a table just big enough for two set with terracotta pots of oolong and bowls of Taiwanese braised pork over rice. The New Yorker went on to describe the very unassuming Té Company as “one of the most exciting restaurants in New York City,” its service “polished as a river stone.”

We’re happy to report that Elena and Frederico have weathered this past year thanks to devotees who have been ordering their teas and tea wares online, taking part in virtual tastings, and ringing the Té Hotline, manned by a real person (often Elena) at the ready with tea recommendations and sympathy: “The world has been so upside down,” says Elena. “A lot of our older customers have been checking in.” Té Company is newly reopened Fridays through Sundays for outdoor sipping and takeaway. Join us for a visit.

Photographs courtesy of Té Company, unless noted.

Té Company, NYC.
Above: If you don’t know to look for the golden teapot on the window, the tea room is easy to miss: it’s located at 163 West 10th Street, on the first floor of a 1900 apartment building in a space formerly occupied by a beloved rare cookbook store. To enter, visitors pass through the same vestibule that residents use. 

At a time when so much of the city is empty storefronts and chain restauramts, Elena Liao and Frederico Ribeiro manage to run the ultimate mom &#8
Above: At a time when so much of the city is empty storefronts and chain restauramts, Elena Liao and Frederico Ribeiro manage to run the ultimate mom ‘n pop establishment by doing everything with great care and modesty. They’re shown here by the entry, where reading material awaits on a ladder. The space was converted for them by local architects Kimoy Studios, who say it was designed “for pausing time.” Photograph by and courtesy of Manhattan Sideways.

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