Saturday, July 25, 2009

Boston: O Ya

Having spent a very enjoyable day wandering around Boston, we convened with our foodie friends David & Ra'ed for a late (9 pm) dinner at O Ya, perhaps the most acclaimed new restaurant in Boston. We stopped off for a preprandial appetite sharpener at No. 9 Park, just a block from our hotel, where we enjoyed delicious cocktails and a few nuts with the gregarious and hospitable bartender. (He was extremely accommodating when Ra'ed's glass of pinot gris proved to be corked..for the first time in my experience, the color of the wine was OK but there was a distinct odor and flavor of cork. It appears to have been a bad batch). Indeed, we were enjoying ourselves so much it was hard to tear ourselves away but we finally managed to.

It was a short, but not terribly scenic, walk through the deserted Boston financial district until we finally found O Ya at the edge of downtown. Ra'ed's iPhone served us well in step by step navigation.

Once inside, we were promptly seated at four corner stools at the bar. The restaurant is very small...only about 10 tables plus about another dozen seats or so at the bar. Properly positioned, we had a direct view of the chefs who, sushi-bar style, put together most of the menu.

Well, once again I had neglected to bring my reading glasses and my only real complaint was that the small type on the menu (necessary to cover the large number of possible options) and rather dim lighting made choosing difficult. Too difficult, frankly, so I opted for the omakase menu in which David (always a fan of tasting menus) was happy to join me. Michael and Ra'ed, being either more finicky or less sight-impaired, decided to pick their own courses.

What a meal we had! Easily the most memorable since we last ate at Alinea, and maybe before. The tasting menu was a LONG procession of courses, not quite as overwhelming as Alinea, and certainly not as "out there" in the tastes and techniques. Just delicious, wonderful food, probably 14 or 15 small tastes, each more delicious than the rest. I won't bother to try to single out any of them individually; in fact I really can't remember the specifics (although what I can only describe as a potato chip laced with truffle oil did wow all four of us). Just an extraordinary meal. With dinner we started with a bottle of Trimbach Pinot Gris ($46) which went so well with the wide variety of food that we stuck with it. Michael and Ra'ed, who were at the far end and perhaps not paying close attention, or maybe in a food stupor, were amazed that no matter how much they drank, the bottle never seemed to run out. (I kept reordering...we went through 3 bottles, not bad considering how little Ra'ed drinks. Of course we were there for close to 3 hours).

The cost of this extravaganza: $415 including tax and tip. Expensive, yes, but I would do it again any time we happen to be in Boston. It was one of the best high-end food experiences we have ever had, and if any $400 dinner can be said to be a bargain, this one was.

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