I was not going to write a post for a handful of reasons but then I decided to write one with a few caveats. I had been to O Ya in Boston a two times and had an incredible meal both times. The sushi was delicious, the preparation was creative and the intimacy of the restaurant hit all the high notes. When it was announced that O Ya was opening in NYC I was really excited. I got on the phone immediately and made a reservation.
The restaurant is located in the new Gramercy Park South Hotel on East 29th between Park and Lexington. The architecture of the restaurant is great. Very warm, inviting and chill. We sat up in one of the booths that lets you oversee the entire restaurant. Good spot. There are two options at this point, an 18 course or 23 course omikase. We opted for 18. Figured that is plenty.
Our meal was endless, aka 3 1/2 hours. It was utterly ridiculous and the manager knew it. The waiter was frustrated too. In the end, they could not have been nicer about it. They did not charge us for a drop of liquor and then took 50% off the bill. The manager gave us her card and asked us to please come back for the experience we would expect from O Ya. We had been so miserable through the entire meal and thought about leaving several times but in the end we stuck it out. When we left we felt much better although we did not care so much about the cost (we expected it) but were impressed in how they dealt with the disaster.
So instead of focusing on the length of time, the service and the frustration, I am going to just focus on the food. Maybe it is all tied into one but it shouldn’t be. The food was just not that good perhaps interesting but if you go that route than it better be really amazing. Based on my experience in Boston and the variety of omikase meals that we have been to I was expecting sushi. I was not expecting that six of the dishes would be vegetables. Many of the dishes were also not raw but cooked. Perhaps they were trying to shake it up in NYC. Boston worked…make it work in NYC.
Here is the meal. We began kumamoto oysters with a chopped cucumbers and a light soy.
Smoked yellow tail with a spicy banana pepper
Tasmanian sea trout with a tomato confit
Eel with a Thai basil sauce
House made potato chip with a pine nut mayo and an Australian truffle.
Squash blossom tempura.
Shitake mushrooms with a spicy truffle sauce.
Egg, soy, cheese with a tea flavoring
Belly salmon with a wheat soy
Golden eye tuna with lemon shiso lemon oil
Kampachi with a Vietnamese flavor
Mushroom with a salty sauce
Wagu beef with thinly sliced potatoes
Foie gras with chocolate
Strawberries with gelato
I really do want O Ya to succeed. I hope that they fix these issues. The owners are lovely and so is the staff. They are trying to recreate their Boston success in NYC. Stick with what you do best. It works.