9 East St, Leather District
A long, narrow, galley enclosed by brick walls sounds a little…bare-bones. But the smooth walnut counters and softly muted lighting give O Ya, a former firehouse, a seductive, intimate vibe. Come with a friend or lover and ask for a seat at the counter. Chef and owner Tim Cushman is one of those multihyphenate creative types: a music graduate turned chef who spent years in Europe and Asia before opening a Japanese-style restaurant in Boston. The menu is not strictly traditional—the sushi, sashimi, and sides are certainly rooted in the Japanese tradition but are finished with Cushman’s gone-rogue flair. The menu is divided into nigiri, sashimi, truffles and eggs, and other unexpected pairings to give an idea of the breadth. For a taste of (almost) everything, order the seventeen-course omakase menu. For a more considered meal, choose a few plates off the à la carte menu and be sure to include the legs and eggs (teeny, meaty lobster legs dotted with white sturgeon caviar) and the completely unexpected (in a Japanese restaurant anyway) tea-brined pork ribs caramelized with hot sesame oil and sweet honey.
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