Seattle hound Tom Armitage recently paid a visit to Boston, and he offered a critical, yet thoughtful, review of his meal at O Ya. Overall, he agrees with a previous Chowhound review that it's "the recipes, sauces, and ingredients, not the seasonality and exceptional quality of the fish, that drive the menu."
Tom focused his order on sushi and sashimi items, and out of the 10 dishes he tried, only 2 were noteworthy. The sea urchin uni mousse with kuidashi gelée and tonka bean "exhibited finesse and subtlety." The foie gras nigiri with balsamic chocolate kabayaki and raisin cocoa pulp was a "truly spectacular bite, and more than lived up to all of the praise that has been heaped on it."
The rest of the meal, however, was somewhat disappointing. "My main problem with O Ya is that the flavor of the fish in the sushi and sashimi is overwhelmed by the marinades, sauces, and other ingredients that accompany them. It's almost as if the fish merely provides a background textural note to the other ingredients and flavors," Tom says.
He also notes a bias toward oily fish (bluefin, salmon, hamachi, aji), and a dominant sesame flavor in many dishes. Despite his criticisms, though, he doesn't think that O Ya should necessarily change a thing. "As a commercial venture, it's obviously enormously successful and has a substantial following willing to pay a huge price tag."
O Ya [Leather District]
9 East Street, Boston