Visited in March 2017
120 East 28th Street
New York, NY 10016
I started this post with some pretty negative statements, and then I checked myself…
Let’s talk about the good first. We had a GOOD time, a great time even. The place is swanky, dim, romantic, and the service is great. I will likely go back so long as sushi was not what I was pining for.
Now, the not so glorious… O Ya is not a true “sushi-ya”. They make good food, but sushi is not their focus. To be 100% honest, I knew this going in, thus had zero desire to visit, but for the purposes of the site, I took yet another one for the team! J Take a look at their menu. Just like Neta, their omakase has tons of cooked foods. Scroll to their sushi menu, and you’ll find a total of 16 different offerings. Of the 16 offerings, four are veggies/roots (herbs, shallot, mushroom, AND POTATO CHIP – WHAT???), two are non-fish, chicken skin, and foie gras, and one is boring old eel. Of the 10 that are actually fish, 3 are salmon, and 4 are tunas. Meaning, very limited fish options! So if you’re a true sushi-lover, wrong place. But if you feel like a little of everything, it’s worth a try.
We tried to have the waiter alter the omakase to be of raw fish only, but he wasn’t going anywhere near that. He didn’t even bother asking the head chef, OR his manager. Which I was not so thrilled with. So we went for the only viable option, and ordered à la carte. There was just no way I could entertain spending $185 or $245 for an omakase, knowing that in it, I was spending $20 for a potato chip sushi, or $14 for a mushroom sushi. I just cannot do it. I might hurt someone after that!
Our à la carte courses tonight:
- KUMAMOTO OYSTER – watermelon pearls, cucumber mignonette. Oyster was fantastic, and the dressing was a refreshing great pairing.
- HAMACHI (young yellowtail) – I wasn’t going to order this, but when I asked the waiter what his favorites were, and this was one of two things he mentioned, I said why not. Well I should have listened to my gut. Served with banana peppers, this was overcooked and all around overrated.
- AGED ZUKE MAGURO – Marinated aged lean tuna, served with chopped Shiso and Scallion, topped with ginger-scallion oil. I’m generally NOT a fan of putting oils on raw fish sushi, but this was surprisingly good.
- TRUFFLE SCENTED UNI NIGIRI – HUGE fan of truffles, of truffle oils, truffle scents. HUGE fan of fresh UNI. Not at all a fan of this Truffle/UNI combo. Not at all.
- OCEAN TROUT TATAKI – Served with torched tomato, smoked salt, and onion aioli. Other than Trouts being a less preferred fish of mine, this was fine.
- BLUEFIN CHUTORO – served with the “republic of Georgia herb sauce”. What the heck is Republic of Georgia herb sauce? Other than it being in southern Europe, bordering Asia, I cannot start to fathom how their herbs are any different than ours. The fish was very fresh, the herb sauce did not bother me, but did not exactly highlight the fish either.
- KINMEDAI (golden eye snapper) – This was a special for the day, not on the regular menu. Served with chopped shallots and topped with a sprout, his was just OK. Considering it’s one of my favorite fishes, yet they throw all this crap on it, and just mask the fish for its natural glory. BOOO!
- SHIMA AJI & SEA URCHIN – Per menu, this is served with aji Amarillo and nigella. Neither of which I know. The fish was completely masked by the sauce. I think we need to implement a few rules. 1 – Never have more sauce than fish on a plate. And 2 – never have more than 3 ingredients for any one serving of raw fish.
- MADAI (seabream) – Served with lemon oil and topped with myoga. What beautiful presentation. This sauce isn’t horrendously drowning the fish in this dish, but it doesn’t exactly highlight it either. This dish passes.
- HAMACHI VIET – Served with spicy Viet mignonette, Thai basil, and shallots. This was ok, but honestly, too many flavors, drawing attention away from the fabulousness of the fish.
- SCALLOP TRUFFLE – Served with Uni jus, and black truffle. OH MY GOD. FLAVOR overload. This is blasphemy. Butchering of a perfectly good fish!
- KANPACHI – Served with green mango slaw atop coconut broth. Kill me now… I can’t taste any of the fish. You might as well served me chicken.
- BLUEFIN CHUTORO – We were still starving, but ran out of “raw” items to choose from on the menu, went back to the Chutoro…
- KING SALMON VIET – Served with caramel dashi and a rau ram salsa. If you’ve been reading my post, you know I’m not a huge fan of ordering salmon, but again, still hungry, and out of options. The cherry on top? The caramel dashi and salsa combo was NOT good.
- AGED ZUKE MAGURO – Another repeat…
- KINMEDAI – Another repeat…
- FOIE GRAS GYOZA – Served with Kyoto sansho and pink peppercorns. This was good. Finally highlighting what I expected O ya to be. This was a very good dish.
I said a lot of not so fabulous things about O Ya in this post. I have to say, I love the creativity, the attention to detail. Problem is, if you genuinely love the taste of fresh fish, you’re not going to get that here. The supplemental flavors are too strong.