Restaurants & Bars 1

Oya (long review)

Dakota Guy | Nov 26, 2005 06:54 AM

We finally went to Oya last night. It opened last March and the postings here have seemed to focus on price (or over-price in the words of the few posters) rather than the food.

First, the space is unique. The interior design is white marble with [faux] white leather on chairs and table tops. It was chilly last night and we were seated in front of the elongated gas fireplace. Perfect. Many large mirros placed high on the walls, mica chandliers, and a unique window into the kitchen obscured by a waterfall. We both liked it very much. It has a bar with moderately loud music, which we could, thankfully, not hear in the dining area at all. Ambiance: A+

The staff, from doorman, to host, to servers,were warm, friendly, and inviting. Table service was without flaw. Service: A+

They have a list of house drinks that looked interesting but neither of us are cocktail drinkers. The wine list is very modest but I found a French Chardonnay and she a Bordeaux, which each of us enjoyed very much. Wine and cocktails: B

The menu is refined American eclectic. No theme here except to explore some new approaches. The menu offered many things we wanted to try. Apparently they have just added a sushi list. It seemed out of place and we weren't tempted. For appetizers, I had the blue marlin carpaccio with tomato strawberry mousse. I had reservations about this combination but had never seen it before so I tried it. It was very good. Four very large, ultrathin slice of marlin topped with quenelles of mousse, which were not cloying sweet as I feared. It was very good. She had the Pekin duck crepes, which were duck confit with a hoisin sauce and scallions served in crepes. A French variation on traditional Chinese Peking duck. Delicious. Served with tiny turned Asian cucumbers.

For entrees, I had Five Spice Duck: a large duck breast sliced and served with a port ginger sauce. It was perfect. It was served with celeriac puree. The entree was also accompanied by a small individual apple charlotte. The charlotte was excellent. Small, with a pastry crust, and filled with a brunoisse of apple and dried cherries.

She had rabbit for her entree. It was very tasty except that it was wrapped in bacon. [getting on soap box] Why do so many chefs wrap otherwise tasty dishes in pork? Everywhere I look, fish and fowl are cooked in bacon or pruscutto! [getting off soap box] Her rabbit was accompanied by quenlleles of pureeed carrot and another [unidentified] small, turned root vegetable.

The food is imaginative, labor intensive, and well conceived. The chef [whomever he/she may be] is emulating some of the best [Michel Richard, Eric Ziebold, ...]. They haven't reached that level yet but are headed in the right direction. Overall, I'd give the food an A-.

By the way, we shared a dessert of bitter sweet chocolate wontons with an orange zabaglione sauce. Again delicious but a little awkward to eat with a spoon.

I have read several reports on Chowhounds that Oya is overpriced. I disagree. For the quality of the food and amount of handwork required it is at the right price point. [For example, turning small root vegetables is very labor intensive. Most restaurants don't bother for that reason].

Both my girlfriend and I look forward to returning to Oya and trying other dishes. My only regret is that we tarried so long before trying it!

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