O Ya Sushi is easily considered one of the best restaurants in Boston along with Barbara Lynch’s Menton. It’s in the Leather District and tucked away in a back alley.
There are two 9 East St in Boston and I found out the hard way. I had to call the restaurant and they had to clarify their address for me. It cost me two Uber rides and luckily for me Boston isn’t very congested like Los Angeles during rush hour.
Anyway, the restaurant has a “chef’s counter” that seats about 17 and around 8 dining tables behind the “chef’s counter” area. The restaurant decor was cool and it was pretty lively in the restaurant. They played 90s hip hop on the Friday night I dined there. The servers were all very nice, and course explanations were decent. I’m kind of on the fence about O Ya Sushi.
I sat at the “Chef’s Counter” for O Ya Sushi and the experience was nothing more than sitting at a local bar’s counter. I didn’t get the “Chef’s Counter” dining experience because the Chefs were busy preparing the food, so it was waiters’ job to serve the courses. It was a really awkward experience cause the waiters would come from behind to drop off the food and pick up the dish. They would explain the dish from behind and I had to turn around every single time. I had to move every time they did it and it got kind of annoying mid-way through the meal.
A typical “Chef’s Counter” experience would consist of the course being dropped off in front of you then picked up from behind you. Furthermore, the Chef, not the waiter, would explain the dish. This was nothing like what I’ve experience in the past. The O Ya Sushi Chef Counter’s experience was lame. There was no Chef interaction at all like when your gf/wife gets mad at you and doesn’t speak to you.
In addition, I expected more from them regarding service at the Chef’s Counter. The Chef’s Counter experience was mediocre at best and the service wasn’t on par with other restaurants in the same price range. It was extremely lacking compared to NYC’s Masa or Sushi Zo, LA’s Urasawa, Yamakase or Sushi Zo and Tokyo’s Hatsune Sushi. The mentioned restaurants had the wait staff clean your area after every dish and readjust your setting. O Ya Sushi should relabeled the Chef’s Counter to something else cause it’s very misleading because it’s truly not a Chef’s Counter dining experience.
Now, the food. O Ya Sushi serves an A La Carte menu, an Omakse menu and a Grand Omakase menu. The Omakase is the Chef’s pick off the A La Carte menu so I decided to go with the Grand Omakase. Everything was decent to good. Here are the memorable items:
- Poached Egg w/ Gold Flakes & Caviar – It was slow poached in a Sous Vide bucket at 62F. The Chef timed it and it looked like he wrote the time on the shell. The slowed poached egg was really good topped with caviar and gold flakes. The creamy texture of the egg yolk combined with the slightly salty caviar was a good marriage between the two. I could tell the caviar wasn’t as fresh. Fresh caviar doesn’t have a slight hint of salt at all.
- Foie Gras Nigiri – It was a seared Foie Gras on top of rice wrapped in nori. It had balsamic chocolate kabayaki, raisin cocoa pulp and accompanied by a sip of aged sake. The texture of the Foie Gras was perfect. It was rich, creamy and slightly sweet due to the balsamic chocolate. The seared parts made it slightly crisp. The rice temperature was decent and could have been a dash warmer to give it better texture. The combination made it buttery and the “melt in your mouth goodness” level was at a 8 out 10.
- A5 Japanese Wagyu – This was a sirloin strip and cooked to medium rare. It was laid on top of thinly sliced fried potato. The potato resembled a potato chip but it wasn’t as deep fried or dried out as a potato chip. However, it had the salty part down pretty well. It was a nice piece of A5 Japanese Wagyu that came from a distributor outside of Kobe, Japan. It was buttery, rich, and succulent, which is expected. I prefer a rib eye cut more than a sirloin cut due to better texture but I’m not going to complain if it’s on the menu.
Okay. The food was pretty good and it had comforting flavors. However, O Ya Sushi relied too heavily on sauces. Everything had some sort of sauce to it and there was no progression in the Grand Omakase menu. The natural flavors of the ingredients didn’t come out and it was often overpowered by the sauces. You can put ketchup or mayo on a hamburger and make it taste good.
Here’s the thing. Since Boston isn’t a Michelin rated city, I sat there during my dinner having trouble with where to place them in regards to other notable restaurants. Where would O Ya be place on the Michelin guide? In my opinion, it’s definitely not a three or even two star restaurant. I think it would barely make one star on a very good day if that. I think O Ya Sushi is a very decent restaurant for people who follow the Michelin guide but a very good restaurant for those with a modern yet westernized palate at the end of the day. The best sushi? Probably not.
Read our other Boston articles here.
- Service - 6.5/106.5/10
- Presentation - 6/106/10
- Flavors - 6.5/106.5/10
- Decor - 7/107/10
- Ambiance - 5/105/10
O Ya is easily considered one of the best restaurants in Boston along with Barbara Lynch’s Menton. The “Chef’s Counter” experience was nothing more than sitting at a local bar’s counter. It provided a really awkward experience having to turn around every single time. The heavily reliance on sauces didn’t make me a fan. Where would O Ya be place on the Michelin scale? One star on a very good day if that.