Last night Julie and I dined at O Ya, regarded as one of the top restaurants in Boston, and one of the best sushi restaurants around. Their accolades are pretty ridiculous. After the last two dinners, this meal was a much different experience, but in a lot of ways better than the two dinners at No. 9 Park and Menton, which is pretty amazing, considering how good those two restaurants are.
We got a cab to the correct address, which is kind of a bunch of alleys away from a main road. The door is super understated, and it took us a second to find the entry.
The service and ambiance was much more laid back than Menton or No. 9 Park, which is more of our style. A lot of the credit for how good this dinner was can be given to our server, who was approachable, really knowledgeable, and just super friendly. She did a really good job explaining all the different dishes and helping ensure we knew what we were eating. She also made sure we got a copy of the menu with all the dishes we had checked off of it so we could remember everything later.
There weren’t any non-alcoholic pairings tonight, but we did enjoy a sip of sake with the last set of dishes. Julie didn’t like it as much as I did – I could totally get behind expensive sake
We opt’ed for a smaller tasting menu over their “grand” tasting menu, but still received 19 individual dishes. The grand tasting menu focuses more on super high end ingredients like waygu beef, foie gras, truffles, caviar, etc… and it also weighs in at about 25 dishes.
Dish 1 was a Kuramoto oyster, with watermelon pearls, cucumber mignonette. It was super clean and refreshing.
Dish 2 was Hamachi with spicy banana pepper mousse. A little spicy, and just absolutely flavorful. I remembered one of my favorite dishes at Alinea was a fried Hamachi and banana bite, served on a vanilla bean.
Dish 3 was Salmon Tataki, with torched tomato, smoked salt, and onion aioli. We have this one starred as one of our favorites. Just great flavors, with a bunch of different layers.
Dish 4 was warm eel with thai basil, kabayaki, and fresh kyoto sansho. Julie doesn’t normally like eel, but this one was really good – maybe good enough to turn her into a convert.
Dish 5 was Homemade Russian fingerling potato chip, with burgundy truffle. This one was like eating an entire bowl of Christian’s truffle chips in one bite. The texture differences between the creamy sauce, rice, and crispy chip made the dish.
Dish 6 was really interesting – Fried Kumamoto oyster with yuzu kosho aioli and squid ink bubbles. Tons of different flavors, temperatures and textures in this one. We could easily have polished off a bunch more of these.
Dish 7 was wild Santa Barbara spot prawn, with garlic butter, white soy, and preserved yuzu. The garlic butter just melted from the prawn when you bit into it – a perfect little bite.
Dish 8 was Shima Aji and Santa Barbara sea urchin with ceviche vinaigrette and cilantro. That was easily the best sea urchin I’ve had – not too over powering, just a mellow sea water flavor, with a great creamy texture that balanced out the fish really well. My chopstick skills were not good enough for this one – I broke out the fork.
Dish 9 was Bluefin Marguro with a Republic of Georgia herb sauce. The herb blend was a really, really unique flavor that went well with the fish and lingered until the next course.
Dish 10 was Scottish salmon with a spicy sesame ponzu, yuzu kosho, and scallion oil. This one was good, fresh, and tasty, but it wasn’t out-of-this-world good like the others.
Dish 11 was Hamachi, viet mignonette, thai basil, and shallot. This one knocked our socks off. Flavor wise it was perfect – smoky, fresh, and spicy. This was easily the spiciest dish of the night, but in a really good way that lingered and paired great with the fish.
Dish 12 was bluefin tuna tataki, with smoky pickled onion, and truffle oil. For this one the tuna really stood out, which I liked a lot. Tuna is one of my favorite fishes and it worked really well here.
Dish 13 was a chilled Maine lobster salad, with avacado, creamy yuzu dressing, peppercress, and a cucumber gelee. It was very light, refreshing and packed full of lobster.
Dish 14 was scary to me because I am not a huge mushroom eater, but this one won me over. Grilled Chanterelle and Shitaki mushroom sashimi, with rosemary garlic oil, sesame froth, and soy. The mushrooms didn’t taste like mushrooms, and all the flavors gelled nicely, so I ate my half of the dish just fine.
Dish 15 was incredible. I’m not sure either of us have ever had beef quite this good. Seared Waygu petit strip loin, with potato confit, sea salt, and white truffle oil. The beef was perfect and seasoned perfectly, and the thin little potato slices with the truffle oil were again reminiscent of Christian’s truffle chips.
Dish 16 and 17 came out together, as our “finale”. We had seen foie gras gyoza on the menu and asked that they be added to our tasting menu, so the chefs paired those with the foie gras nigiri and an 8 year old sake. The gyoza had kyoto sansho and pink peppercorns and were absolutely perfect. They were the perfect temperature, and when you bit into them, the foie gras just melted. We gobbled these up quick.
Dish 17 was foie gras, with balsalmic chocolate kabayaki, Claudio Corallo raisin cocoa pulp and a sip of aged sake. What a way to finish the savory dishes – perfect foie gras and a sauce that made us want to lick the plate. I thought the sake was great and went well with the dishes. Julie, not so much
After the savory dishes, we ordered two desserts. Dish 18 was raw coconut and almond gelato, with espresso bubbles. This one was still bubbling when it was brought to the table and it had a great pairing of the bitter, warm espresso with the cold, creamy gelato.
Dish 19 was our first Boston creme pie. We had to order it just for that fact alone. This was Tres Leche Boston creme pie, with chocolate and sesame. The cake was perfect, the chocolate was obviously very high end and tasty, and the sesame added an additional layer to the entire dish.
There’s a ton on this menu, so if we’re ever back in Boston, we’ll be back at O Ya in a heartbeat.