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Is O Ya in Boston still amazing?

e
edgenyc May 3, 2010 06:04 AM

Three years ago I went to O Ya and it was expensive, but I was impressed by the quality of food and service. Everything we ordered had this incredible wow-factor.

I'm about to visit Boston again on holiday, is O Ya just as good or should I consider trying another restaurant?

I'd be grateful for any thoughts members of this board might have.

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O Ya
9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

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  1. MC Slim JB May 3, 2010 06:06 AM

    I was there a couple of months ago for a piece I wrote for Stuff Magazine: no discernible drop-off in quality.

    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

    1. tatsu May 3, 2010 07:41 AM

      I went in January. I had a chance to talk with Tim Cushman and his wife who runs the front. Nice folks! They were still very focused and so were the sushi chefs. It's still very expensive ha ha. Menton is the newest fixture that has everyone's attention similar to O Ya 4 or so years ago.

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      O Ya
      9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

      Menton
      354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

      1. barleywino May 3, 2010 09:56 AM

        portions have gotten smaller but quality has remained high

        3 Replies
        1. re: barleywino
          Bob Dobalina May 3, 2010 10:19 AM

          Just curious how that could be possible...smaller? :)

          Actually, have they updated anything on the menu or is it the same stuff as before?

          1. re: Bob Dobalina
            MC Slim JB May 3, 2010 10:31 AM

            I'd say about 70-80% of the menu had exactly the same dishes I recall from their opening.

            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

            1. re: Bob Dobalina
              barleywino May 3, 2010 10:36 AM

              menu has a couple new items here and there but for the most part is the same, as far as I can tell...if the trend continues, at some point they will need to start handing out toothpicks instead of chopsticks...that being said, it;s still the best game in town for that genre imo

          2. c
            cornFusion May 3, 2010 10:27 AM

            If you are after authentic quality Japanese in Boston, be warned. It seems that everyone BUT Japanese chefs/owners do "eclectic/fusion Japanese". The "regular B-grade Japanese sushi shop" in Boston has been locked down by the Chinese years ago (read: Chinese cooking "inspired" oil/fat infused dishes. The names are japanese-like but past that the cultural impact is Chinese with a thin veneer of classy presentation. Having said that, there are fierce supporters of this type of food in Boston - and they are the ones who provide a major supporting customer base (so I guess I may be one of the few who are possibly "in the wrong").

            7 Replies
            1. re: cornFusion
              MC Slim JB May 3, 2010 10:31 AM

              I don't know anyone who would claim that O Ya is doing traditional Japanese. Since you brought it up, what are your favorites on that score?

              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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              O Ya
              9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

              1. re: MC Slim JB
                c
                cornFusion May 3, 2010 10:52 AM

                Just had a nice (but not over the top great) meal at Oishii Too in Sudbury. Excellent Service, some extremely good sashimi, one of the better renditions of Una-ju, but an over-fondness for ponzu wrecked a couple of things for me. Nevertheless, it is another faux-Japanese place. Like an excellent pizza is still faux-italian :)

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                Oishii Too
                365 Boston Post Rd, Sudbury, MA 01776

                1. re: cornFusion
                  Bob Dobalina May 3, 2010 12:37 PM

                  I had similar thoughts about authentic sushi vs. rolls at the bar at Super Fusion II in Watertown this weekend. Even though their spicy tuna roll is a real abomination to "true" Japanese cuisine, I really enjoy eating them. ;)

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                  Super Fusion II
                  54 Mt Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

                  1. re: Bob Dobalina
                    kobuta May 3, 2010 02:42 PM

                    Yeah, just like yoshoku isn't even close to their real Western counterparts - they taste good and I indulge when on them when I'm in Japan. I think there is room for both types, as long as they're delicious!

                    Love a lot of classic Japanese food, and I've had great traditional dishes at Sakurabana (their udon) to Ginza (their tempura) to Oga (lots..). I also love the different and fusion sushi too that combines some of my favorite ingredients (avocado for example) with simple delicious fish.

                    1. re: Bob Dobalina
                      tatsu May 3, 2010 03:01 PM

                      One of my favorite fellow Japanese reviewers loves to call them "jive-ass rolls"

                    2. re: cornFusion
                      Luther May 4, 2010 03:49 AM

                      Excellent pizza is American.

                    3. re: MC Slim JB
                      tatsu May 3, 2010 03:00 PM

                      Sushi Island, Toraya, Oga's, Inaho, and this year I will surely make it out to try Mac's.

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                      Toraya Restaurant
                      890 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

                      Sushi Island
                      397 Main St, Wakefield, MA 01880

                      Oga's Japanese Cuisine
                      915 Worcester St, Natick, MA 01760

                  2. rlove May 4, 2010 10:20 AM

                    I've been to O Ya in the last couple weeks--and visit often--and I'd say it is as good as ever.

                    More than half of the menu is almost or exactly the same as when O Ya opened, in quality, size, and composition.

                    The new "fish offal" and "traditional" submenus are newer and also excellent.

                    -----
                    O Ya
                    9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: rlove
                      Jolyon Helterman May 4, 2010 12:01 PM

                      rlove, agree with all your points

                      1. re: rlove
                        MC Slim JB May 4, 2010 12:13 PM

                        I can't say I've noticed a drop-off in portion size.

                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                        1. re: MC Slim JB
                          rlove May 4, 2010 01:56 PM

                          Right. Nor I.

                          1. re: rlove
                            barleywino May 4, 2010 06:29 PM

                            I would have to disagree on the portion size remaining the same. The daikon dumplings used to be a plate of 5 with plenty of miso/cashew butter but now it is 3 dumplings with just a touch of miso. The hamachi banana pepper mousse used to be at least 50% larger. Some of the sushi items (e.g. salmon tomato iirc) now are presented about half the size that they used to be, on top of small cubes of rice (with fish sized to match) instead of the longer rectangular pieces they used to be. I can tell because pieces that used to take me two bites to eat, I can now eat it one bite. The salmon belly drizzled with hot oil and the kinmedai, two of my favorites, which used to present with 3 sizable slices each, are now smaller portions. Perhaps this is a function of which chef does the preparation, perhaps not. Perhaps they're taking their cue from Uni, their closest competitor imo, who has even smaller portions. it's a slippery slope which doesn't diminish the taste, only the value.

                      2. enhF94 May 4, 2010 04:36 PM

                        having been maybe six times since the opening, I'd say that many menu items have stayed exactly the same, which surprises me, because while I love the "opening" Kumamoto Oyster, sometimes watermelon (pearls) are delicious during some parts of the year and useless in other parts of the year. I expected adjustments for calendar months, but no (beyond adjusting salt-seasoning).

                        This was an oddly difficult post to write without inviting confusion about "seasonal" and "seasoning."

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: enhF94
                          e
                          edgenyc Jul 17, 2010 09:24 AM

                          Apologies for this delayed response to the message thread. Thanks to everyone who commented on my original post about O Ya back in May.

                          After reading all the comments, I ended up going to O Ya for the first time in two years and I'm happy to say that it was just as good or better than my first visit a few years back. No smaller portions, just amazing food.

                          With regards to the posts about O Ya, there were quite a few comments about traditional Japanese food restaurants in Boston as an alternative to going to O Ya. I like traditional and modern Japanese cooking but I'm not so sure that you can compare the two. That said, I travel quite a bit and I find everything about O Ya unique. The menu, service and ambiance are very much world class. It's the most fantastic food served in the most unpretentious way.

                          If I'm ever in Boston again, I'm definately going to O Ya again.

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                          O Ya
                          9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

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