It took a while, but we got a reservation at o ya, the last restaurant on the Boston Magazine Hall of Famer List, and certainly the most expensive. I’ve been several times now and have completely enjoyed every meal, but the more you go, the more you get used to some of the courses and they lose their excitement. The menu is only omakase now, which means no repeating an excellent course and now swapping out for something you know you will enjoy more.
It’s also a challenge eating at o ya because I am allergic to raw shellfish. This means they had to sub out a number of courses. I also am not a big fan of mushrooms, sorry. There were also a few mushroom dominant courses on the menu. All that means that what is shown below, is likely to be quite different from what you would get if you went.
The dinner is a fixed price tasting menu for $250 with an optional wine and sake pairing for $150. With tax and tip, you are up over $1,000 for dinner for two. That’s a pretty steep bill for anyone spending their own money, but that doesn’t stop people because even though it is pricy, it’s special.
I enjoyed all of the wines and sakes that we tried and they were good about pouring a little more when you needed it. I would have preferred it to be a little more sake heavy, but I always find it hard to know what to drink with sushi, so this was great.
The meal was twenty courses. That sounds like a lot, but every course is very small. Most are one or two bites. In fact, despite eating twenty courses, I ate tacos after. Yes, that’s the old joke, pay $1,000 for dinner and still hungry. But that’s probably more on me than on them.
Here are the twenty courses with pictures. I apologize some are blurry.
1. thai micro herbs, macadamia nut, cucumber – A replacement for a raw oyster, very flavorful and very good.
2. hamachi with banana pepper – This has been a favorite of mine since my first visit to o ya, lightly torched.
3. caviar and lemon peel – This replaced a sea urchin and caviar dish. Instead of sea urchin, they maximized the caviar. I am not complaining.
4. kamasu wild japanese barracuda, yuzu truffle, dried tomato, shiso – I had never knowingly had barracuda so I was glad to try something different.
5. karikari crispy sesame chicken skin, yuzu-honey pickled ginger, fois gras powder – Sorry for the blurry picture. This dish replaced a prawn. Interesting, but not my favorite.
6. ora king salmon, unfiltered wheat soy moromi, ginger scallion oil – There was a lot of salmon on the menu, not that any of it wasn’t good. I just would have preferred more variety in the fish.
7. housemade fingerling potato chip, truffle aioli, black truffle – Another classic o ya dish that I always enjoy. How can you not like a potato chip?
8. fried kumamoto oyster, yuzu kosho aioli, squid ink bubbles – I was very glad there was a fried oyster on the menu so that I got to have one. This didn’t disappoint.
9. king salmon – There was so much salmon I somehow missed taking a picture of one. I don’t remember the course. I just have in my notes “king salmon”
10. fois gras, karashi miso, preserved lemon – Another classic o ya dish. I used to love this one, but after having it a few times it doesn’t excite me that much. Looks cool though.
11. shima aji, ceviche vinaigrette, cilantro -Another fish I don’t think I had tried before, at least not outside o ya. Shima aji is striped jack which is like a cross between mackerel and amber jack.
12. hamachi, viet mignonette, thai basil, shallot – hamachi is my favorite sushi fish and this was excellent.
13. ora king salmon, spicy sesame ponzu, cucumber – Another salmon, I told you there were a lot.
14. bluefin maguro oaxaca, white ponzu, avocado, pico de gallo, cilantro – The tuna was good, and it could be me, but the cilantro overpowered the dish. I love cilantro, but it isn’t a subtle flavor. It is easy to taste nothing but cilantro. This was one of those times.
15. bluefin tuna belly, wasabi oil, lots of green onion – I preferred this tuna dish to the previous one. Excellent piece of belly and gentler flavoring.
16. hamachi tartare – This dish replaced bay scallops that I couldn’t eat. A beautiful and delicious replacement. Unfortunately, I didn’t write down a more detailed description.
17. roast zucchini – This replaced a mushroom dish that I was happy to pass on. It was better than mushrooms, but I don’t feel bad about not having a longer description.
18. 1.5oz A5 japanese wagyu kushiyaki, confit onion, yuzu kosho, soy maple – I’m not a fan of wagyu. I don’t think it is anything special. This is the only exception to that rule. This is an amazing dish and far better wagyu than all the other waygu I have had.
19. fois gras, chocolate balsamic kabayaki, cocoa raisin pulp – Is this a dessert or is it a savory course? I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know it is an exceptional combination. I have had this dish several times and it is still exciting.
19. mochi donut – This is listed on the menu as “Something Sweet.” I could have eaten a few plates of these, a very good ending to a very good meal.
There is no doubt that o ya is a wonderful place, maybe the best restaurant in Boston. Unfortunately, the price makes it prohibitive. Maybe that’s a good thing, because the wow factor is in the first visit. After that, though excellent, it doesn’t have enough surprises to justify the cost. If you have never been, you need to try it. Just try to get someone else to pay for it.
Well, that looks pretty amazing!