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Inside Davelle, a Tiny Japanese All-Day Cafe With Big Ambitions

Take a look at the menu for the new LES restaurant

A spread of small plates and kissaten classics at Davelle
A spread of small plates and kissaten classics at Davelle

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Tiny new all-day cafe Davelle, with just 20 seats, is just as small as the owners’ previous restaurant, Izakaya. And just like at Izakaya, owner Yudai Kanayama and his fashion industry partners have obsessed over all the little details, from ceramic dishware and vintage accents to the menu of super cozy Japanese fare.

During the day, Davelle is modeled after kissaten, traditional tea and coffee shops that have been around Japan since the late 1800s. In Tokyo, they’re often small, old-school, and peaceful, without the laptop-toting common in New York’s cafe culture. Menus often include toast, curry rice, and spaghetti, plus a pour-over coffee.

The exterior of Davelle
The exterior of Davelle
The dining room at Davelle
The dining room at Davelle

In Japan, food is not necessarily the primary focus of kissatens, and at Davelle, Kanayama wanted to pay more attention what’s available to eat. Like traditional kissaten, Davelle serves Napolitan spaghetti, the Japanese version of red sauce pasta that features green bell peppers and a ketchup sauce, and a curry with rice, offered with either beef or pork. Thick toast and fruit sandwiches, where a yogurt and heavy cream combo accompanies slices of fruit, are also available. They come with soup and salad in sets at lunch, maxing out at $23.

Napolitan spaghetti
Napolitan spaghetti
Curry rice
Curry rice
Fruit sandwich
Fruit sandwich
Photo by Jean Schwarzwalder

But then the little cafe expands by also offering oden, a Japanese street food that’s not commonly served in the U.S. and not often found at kissaten in Japan, either. It’s essentially different foods like mushroom and okra served in a light dashi broth, usually served warm but at Davelle, sometimes also served cold. All the ingredients sit in the broth in an oden machine, with flavors combining and contributing to the depth of the soup, Kanayama says. In Japan, the foods might be served on the street on a stick, but here things like tomato, asparagus, okra, and fried tofu come in a ceramic bowl of the broth.

Davelle oden
The oden machine
Tomato oden
Tomato oden
Okra oden
Okra oden

Kanayama plans to show diners the oden contraption, in part to better explain what it is. “Everything has different tastes and contributes to the soup,” he says. “The more you have in the soup, the better it tastes.” At dinner, various oden offerings compose of much of the menu. Still, fans of Izakaya in the East Village can find similar small plates here, such as vegetable chips and picture-perfect salads tinged with the pink of beet juice. See the full menu, including coffees and teas, below.

It’s still a work in progress — Davelle won’t have a liquor license for a bit, and a retail portion will be added later, as well — but for now, the cafe is at least serving food — which is what matters the most to them, anyway. “You really don’t expect a lot in Japan at a kissaten,” Kanayama says. “But I didn’t want to make it like that, I wanted to make a kissaten with good food.”

Davelle is now open from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. at 102 Suffolk St., between Delancey and Rivington streets.

A snug cafe with high ceilings, a mirror, a single table, and a coffee menu written in cursive on paper.
Davelle
Jean Schwarzwalder/Eater NY

Davelle Menu by Eater NY on Scribd

Davelle

102 Suffolk Street, Manhattan, NY 10002 (646) 988-1973 Visit Website
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