O Ya is one of those “hot” restaurants in NYC right now, and they have good reason to be. Their original restaurant is in Boston, and they recently opened up a NYC location just a few months ago, bringing their unorthodox Japanese omakase menus with them. Despite the popularity and well-received reviews, it wasn’t hard for me and David to get a reservation about three weeks out – you can either book on OpenTable, or if you want a seat at the counter (which I recommend), you can call the restaurant directly.
The interior of O Ya has all the makings of a standard high-end sushi place: warm brick walls and wooden everything else (even the restaurant facade is made of wood paneling), minimalistic flower arrangements in window boxes on the walls, and overall a very modern zen feel. They have some fun quirks, however, such as the cute chopstick holders ranging from sumo wrestlers (mine!) to bunnies, and a very eclectic music playlist. I swear the music varied from Italian restaurant music (y’know, the kind with accordions) to a James Bond theme song at one point.
The food was just as whimsical as some of their music. Unlike many other sushi places who focus on just the fish, O Ya emphasizes creative combinations of ingredients, often using Western ingredients such as truffles or aioli. You can choose between two omakase menus, and they are both pretty pricy – the more inexpensive one is 18 courses for $185 (which is the one David and I got), but if you want to splurge, you can get the 24-course menu for $245. And if you REALLY want to go all out, you can add sake pairings and the like. David did a sake pairing for an extra $90, which included about 4-5 different types of sake throughout the course of dinner.
The rest of this post will mostly just be a photo recap, since there were so many courses—
The foie gras pictured above came with a sip of aged sake, which the server brought us a little shot glass for. If you’re like me and prefer not to drink, you can also get a non-alcoholic version that’s created with a similar flavor profile as the actual sake. Our server gave me both the non-alcoholic one plus a tiny sip of the real deal.
Overall the pacing of the meal was quite fast; 18 courses only took us about an hour and a half. David could barely keep up with his different sake glasses (see below for what his place setting looked like halfway through the meal lol). Our server was awesome – she was super friendly, and at one point despite mistakenly giving David a wine glass (even though he had only ordered sake), she gave him a taste of the red wine she was holding anyway.
On our way out, they even gave us these goldfish-shaped gummies! Which I proceeded to devour the moment I got home.
Bottom line: Dinner at O Ya definitely does not come cheap, but it’s worth it for its fun and creative take on sushi.
120 E 28th St
New York, NY 10016