I met up with two of my good girl friends today for lunch at Franchia (34th St. and Park Ave). One of my friends is a hotelie graduate so she always picks the yummy restaurants. My other friend is vegetarian so we decided to try out Franchia which is a vegetarian Korean tea house. It was a really nice experience. Very relaxing decor and music. I loved the hanging linen fabric sheets near the entrance and the intricate wooden ceiling in particular. There is outdoor cafe style seating and seating indoors in a cool three level style that allows for openness yet still private.
Dishes range from around $8 to $20 or so and the teas and specialty drinks range from $5 to $10 or so. I had the Penang stir fried noodles with “beef” ($10) and a Green Tea Tealatta ($6). Both were delicious and portioned just right. The noodles reminded me of the typical Chinese chow har fun dish but with thinner rice noodles cooked just right (not mushy and had a nice bite). The faux beef looked very realistic and was a nice texture though it lacked a bit in flavor. The bean curd pieces that was also included were tasty. The tealatta was really good – cold, sweet, slightly creamy, and made from real tea leaves. I also shared a Crispy Tofu Skin sushi and that was really good too. Great flavor and very fresh.
My hotelie friend went for the 5-course pre-fixe with a seaweed soup, 2 appetizers (3 dumplings and 3 “chicken” satay sticks), entree with fried tofu, pumpkin and other items with brown rice, and finally dessert of soy ice cream (butter pecan I believe) and choice of tea. She tried 2nd-pick green tea (whatever that means.. Franchia offers tea classes). My vegetarian friend went for ramen noodle soup with “lobster” balls because she was feeling under the weather. She also had a white peony tea with honey. She said she couldn’t taste the honey but loved the restaurant.
Afterward, we took a peak at the gift “shop” which is really just a shelf on the wall with really nice tea cups, tea sets and tea. Oh yeah, you can even order things to go. We all decided we must go again to try more of their menu. Overall it was a really relaxing lunch with good food and good friends. 5-stars.
Since I forgot my camera (smacks fore head), all I can leave you with is a picture of the soy ice cream that I found on the internet.