Follow the culinary adventures and misadventures of the Cooking Agents (Ray and Katie). Watch as we eat/cook our way into adulthood.
I know. I’m back and being slightly irresponsible. Krissie came home for the weekend though to keep me entertained through some of my break times. This spurred the following blog post. Krissie and I have been trying to make it a tradition to do Boston chef menus for our birthday. The first started for our 23rd birthday at O Ya, a Japanese restaurant hidden on the ever so small East Street in Boston’s Leather District. O Ya is owned by husband and wife Tim and Nancy Cushman. Tim, the executive chef, was an apprentice under the celebrated Chef Nobu Matsuhisa. It showed. At the time, a new addition to the kicthen that unfortunately was not there that night was sous chef, Tiffani Faison. You would probably recognize the name from Bravo’s hit TV show, Top Chef.
O Ya is cozy and personable. The dark wood and the high ceilings make for a somewhat ominous environment, but once your perky waitress steps in, you know all is fine and dandy. The restaurant seats only 37 (I meant it when I said cozy) and brings in a mixed crowd, all looking for a memorable experience and a delicious meal. My sister and I were lucky enough to nab seats at the sushi bar, enabling us to see each dish prepared start to finish. The sushi chefs are true masters. Between tasty bites, you can entertain yourself by watching the show right in front of you.
We started off our celebration right with glasses of poochi poochi sparkling sake. Before that night, I’d never had sparkling sake before. To be honest, I think sake is pretty gross. Then again, the times I have had it is at subpar sushi restaurants where I can see the sake bottle being heated in a microwave. Heated, it has a sometimes acrid flavor reminiscent of sweaty gym feet soaking in hot water. I apologize for that extremely unappetizing description. Please get over it and continue on! The poochi poochi was creamy, unfiltered richness. I’d never had sake like this before. My palate was intrigued.
The meal only got better. From this point on, I will only provide pictures of the food we ate. There are really no combination of words sufficient enough to capture the tastes. Even the most jaded of palates would have to agree. The menu is exciting. Tim Cushman is an artist. He knows when to kick it up a notch and when to administer self control and keep food simple and subtle. I leave you with the meal.
kumamoto oyster, watermelon pearls, cucumber mignonette
salmon tataki, torched tomato, smoked salt, onion aioli
hamachi, spicy banana pepper mousse / homemade la ratte potato chip and summer truffle
wild santa barbara spot prawn, garlic butter, white soy, preserved yuzu
wild bluefin tuna tataki, smoky picked onion, and truffle oil / wild bluefin chutoro, republic of georgia herb sauce
fried kumamoto oyster, yuzu kosho aioli, squid ink bubbles
shima aji, santa barbara sea urchin, ceviche vinaigrette
kyoto style enoki mushrooms, garlic, and soy
scottish salmon, spicy sesame ponzu, yuzu kosho, scallion oil
hamachi, viet mignonette, thai basil, shallot
chilled maine lobster salad, avocado, creamy yuzu dressing, peppercress, and cucumber gelee
seared petit strip loin with potato confit, sea salt, and white truffle oil
grilled sashimi of chanterelle & shiitake rosemary garlic oil, sesame froth, and homemade soy / foie gras, balsamic choclate kabayaki, raisin cocoa pulp, w/ a sip of aged sake
raw chocolate gelato
The real piece de resistance is was the chutoro. Melt in your mouth is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot, so please pardon my use of the sometimes overused and abused way of describing food. The tuna melted in my mouth. I wanted it to last longer. O Ya, price tag aside, was the craziest eating experience. Our waitress was informative, interactive, and just plain cute. She made our first chef’s tasting menu experience in Boston all the more special. Each plate was a more perfect bite than the last. Plus, my twinnie said it was the best present she’s ever gotten. That made my day and thus started our tradition of going big or going home.