Back from my trip to Boston and dined at o ya and Craigie on Main for dinner based on recs I got here.
For both places I went with the tasting menu. 17 courses at o ya and 10 at Craigie.
To start both places were amazing. Particularly o ya where they demonstrated a careful attention to the construction of each dish almost as a story with different flavors for the beginning, middle, and end. I would say without hesitation that o ya is in the top tier of food experiences I have had in my life. In New Orleans we have no top tier sushi places and I don't know if I would truly classify o ya as sushi (besides the raw fish) as my brain never suggested a comparison to other sushi just other fine dining. Blows some of the others I have had sushi wise (nobu, etc.) out of the water.
I will not call attention to any particular dish here as I took detailed notes on all I had and wanted to give an overall impression rather than I tasting breakdown. The sake here was great as well and the waitstaff was knowledgeable about the selection and menu.
As to Craigie. A wonderful culinary experience where the chef has shown an in-depth understanding of the patron. An understanding crafted from someone who enjoys eating and flavor exploration. As a dining experience I had a better time here than o ya. The kitchen displays a mastery on the technical level achieved in every dish while the flavors, atmosphere, and waitstaff all speak to an contemporary American approach to comfort food. Almost every dish is served with a spoon as to maximize your ability to get to the sauce or juice at the bottom of the plate. This alone spoke volumes about the man behind the food and his approach. That is not to say the tasting wasn't an amazing demonstration on the break down of flavors and dynamic in its approach (my tasting journeyed from sushi, to pasta, to seafood, to a lamb rib). It was just all presented in a way that comfortable and approachable. Their wine list is also really good and full of gems.
As to negatives, at o ya I had a few dishes that were too heavy on the wasabi and it washed out the other flavors (prob only 2). Also though having a trendy vibe and friendly wait staff it was distinctly unapproachable. I love food and have a pretty good base of knowledge but even I found the sushi side of the menu difficult to break down. I could not take the listed ingredients and create a meaningful sense of what the dish would taste like and if it would be to my liking. I believe here that omakase is the way to go for a first timer and after that would feel like I would be experienced enough to play on my own in this culinary adventure land.
At Craigie I did not like the pasta dish I had in the tasting with a pork component. The fresh pasta was great but the dish overall did not fit in the class of the other dishes. Also the dessert was ho hum and tiny. Also didn't care for the fact that they bring out different desserts for each person but they are too small to share. And it may be ticky-tacky but I like my bread served warm and I know they don't bake their own bread so that makes it more difficult to reheat.
All in all great and I would say that o ya is an essential culinary experience that every foodie must do once and that locals should consider Craigie if in the market for favorite repeat haunt.
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