Every once in a while, and it's not often, you have a truly great food experience. Truly great. I can still remember the first spoonful of wild mushroom soup at Daniel in New York. It, in some ways, changed my very life.
Last night at o ya may not have achieved quite that psychological level, but it was superb, fantastic, and memorable. And you can't ask much more from a restaurant than that.
I went with the lovely Abby and a very good friend who's visiting from Sydney. And Sydney has some of the best seafood and sushi outside of Japan, so this was a risk for me to recommend.
As the stubborn Chowhounds we each are, we created our own omakase. I don't have time to list everything, but highlights included o ya's (rightfully) famous Foie Gras with balsamic chocolate kabayaki, raisin cocoa pulp and an unbelievable sip of aged Sake. The foie was spectacular, but I have to say that sip of sake made the dish complete. Ricey and a kind of sauterne sweetness and noble rot that blew me away.
Other marvelous moments included the Wild Bluefin Maguro Tuna with soy-braised garlic, the baby geoduck (even sweeter than the larger version) with yuzo soy, meyer lemon and hojiso, Santa Barbara Sea Urchin with valencia orange, homemade soy (who the hell makes their own soy, but it was great), and fresh wasabi.
I could go on for hours, as we did last night. Heck, even the salmon skin was the best I've ever had. Torched to a crispness that made Abby bleed. Now THAT's the kind of eating I think we like here. X-games food.
The sake selection was excellent, and Peter from Australia ( and a regular at Toyko sushi spots) is an expert on the subject, so we drank well. o ya's service was so kind, friendly, unassuming yet knowledgeable, it was in itself a revelation.
A spoonful of wild mushroom soup changed my life. Even if o ya didn't achieve that level, I'll give it this: it made my night.