337B W. Broadway
New York, New York
by Elizabeth Knight
Sanctuary T is located in the SoHo (South of Houston Street)–Cast Iron Historic District in the southern end of New York. Owner Dawn Cameron, a former investment banker who grew up drinking tea, sold tea online before opening a 40-seat dining room and full-service bar. Her goal is to provide customers an escape from the “clamor of city life” centered around tea’s sensuous rituals in a relaxed, unstuffy place. Clean Plates NYC recently named the restaurant one of the top 50 “healthiest, tastiest places to dine.”
Open seven days a week, the stylish room is calm, warm, and inviting with cork-lined and chocolate brown walls and simple wooden tables and chairs. Here, Chef Kevin Stanton serves up a sophisticated breakfast, brunch, lunch, teatime, and dinner menu. In addition to a tiered tray overflowing with fresh fruit, scones, and assorted tea sandwiches, 50 types of artisanal loose-leaf tea blends are offered, each selected by Sanctuary T’s buyer, Aleksandra Milicevic. The signature brew—green and black teas blended with flowers and peaches—is called Geisha Beauty. Also among the top five sellers are SoHo Breakfast (Ceylon and Indonesian teas), Spring Harvest (green and white teas flavored with passion fruit), a Ceylon OP*, and an herbal infusion made with hibiscus, dried watermelon, and strawberry.
Drinks master Benoit Cornet prepares wickedly good tea-based cocktails such as an Earl Grey martini and a green tea margarita. The Martha Stewart Show and The New York Times noticed.
Those with heartier appetites might select brook trout prepared with Lapsang Souchong–infused oil or gnocchi (Italian dumplings) steeped in a jasmine-tea brown-butter sauce. Save room for chocolate cake garnished with Chai ice cream.
Sanctuary T also offers five-course dinners paired with teas from around the world. Tea tastings and tea-pairing parties are relaxed enough for those just starting on the tea trail, yet sophisticated enough for more experienced tea lovers.
At the back of the restaurant, there’s a small offering of unusual tea-based products, such as Tea Dust Seasoning (a mix of Tahitian green tea, ginger, and coconut), Lapsang Smoky Black, and Chili Rooibos, to give home cooking a flavor boost. For frequent flyers, Cameron developed BYO, a smartly designed fold-over paper pouch to hold loose tea and unbleached disposable tea bags. White tea sugar cookies, Earl Grey honey sticks, and other tea-centric delights are also available online at shopsanctuaryt.com.
*OP stands for Orange Pekoe, which denotes a grade of black tea, not a flavor. Therefore, there is no orange in Orange Pekoe. For more on this topic, go to teatimemagazine/infusions.aspx.
Editor’s Note: At the time of publication, the information listed above was correct. However, please be sure to verify this information before making plans to visit to ensure it has not changed.