Monday, November 5, 2012

boston restaurants: o

Yes I'm skipping ahead to "O" for Boston's best restaurants, but this is a secret I can no longer hide. O ya is hands-down my favorite restaurant in all of Boston. With steep prices and mostly two to three pieces per order (ranging from $8-38, with an exception of the $189.99 eight-ounce wagyu beef striploin), it is definitely a place for celebrations. T & I first headed to o ya for our 4-year anniversary, then I took my college roommate, Amanda, here when she visited from California, and this recent trip was to celebrate my birthday. Located in the small Leather District of Boston (yes, it exists), Tim and Nancy Cushman have been dazzling diners since 2007 in their loft-like open space that seats 17 at the bar, and only 20 at tables. Reservations for these highly-coveted seats can be made online for the bar, but seats at the tables must be called ahead (and be sure to 3 months in advance of the date you wish to dine). To make o ya even more accomplished, this year Tim Cushman received the James Beard best chef of the Northeast award and once again o ya landed on Boston Magazine's 50 Best Restaurants list (unsurprising really after you have had the honor of tasting their innovative combinations).

With a small sign hanging a block or so from South Station, and a large unmarked wooden door, at first you may think you have mistaken the directions...but you are correct, and behind this large door is a magical restaurant where you will have a magical evening.

With many menu options to choose from (including an omakase chef's tasting and a grand tasting menu), you have the option to either mark up the menu and let them be brought out as prepared, or order like a tapas menu, a few orders at a time while you enjoy and decide your next steps. We marked our menus up and handed them over, trying some new items as well as some of our favorites (you can find the menus here). If you are unsure, the waiters and waitresses are very knowledgeable, helpful, and friendly!

We started with the Nantucket bay scallop sashimi 
with a coconut broth, a nice light start with a little kick

Soy marinated salmon with truffle oil & green onion

Hamachi with a spicy banana pepper mousse

Artic char with yuzu cured, smoked sesame brittle, cumin aioli
 & cilantro (this arrives to your table still smoking, a real show-stopper)

Scottish salmon with spicy sesame ponzu,
 yuzu kosho & scallion oil (T's favorite)
It was somewhere around here that an older gentleman, that was apparently out with a rowdy bunch of friends, approached our table and simply said "I just want you to take this...please take this"...and handed over his gold mask...

Confused we moved our focus back to the food! 
Next was the hamachi with a harissa sauce

Wild ivory king salmon with a spicy lemongrass
 curry sauce, toasted garlic & sesame

 Venison tataki with porcini crema & ponzu oil (my favorite)

Wild Santa Barbara spot prawn with garlic 
butter, white soy & preserved yuzu

 Langoustine tempura with ao nori, spicy 
langoustine sauce & lemon zest

House smoked moullard duck tataki with
 foie gras kabayaki & arima sansho

House smoked wagyu with yuzu soy

Onsen egg with dashi sauce, truffle salt 
& homemade pickled garlic

Tea brined fried pork ribs with hot
 sesame oil, honey & scallions

Yuzu brined chicken wing ballotine with napa cabbage 
and shiitake stuffing & house ramp kimchee

Shrimp tempura with bacon truffle emulsion 
& scallion ginger oil (my second favorite)

After our savory dishes were complete, we happily 
waited for the birthday dessert...

a chocolate pudding cake with banana
 tempura & goma gelato 

Full & satisfied we headed home to drink some sparkling wine by 
the fire to complete the birthday celebrations for this year.
O Ya on Urbanspoon
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