My Most Extravagant Meal

… was composed of 22 courses, eaten in 5+ hours.

It included caviar and foie gras and different kinds of truffles.

I had the best steak of my life.

And I ate a gold leaf.

At a Japanese restaurant.

Last week, I had the immense pleasure of eating at o ya again. It was the most extravagant meal I’ve ever had, very luxurious and decadent.  My friends and I oohed and aahed at the different courses, marveled at each beautiful dish, closed our eyes as we savored each bite, each texture, each miniscule drop of intense flavor.

It was pure bliss.

When I went to o ya for the first time last year, I had the 16-course omakase then and declared o ya as one of the best dining experiences I’ve ever had. This time, we had the grand omakase: a 22-course feast (each course being one piece of sushi).

Here is a photo journey:

1 – warm chive omelet with sweet dashi sauce

The first course was actually supposed to be a kumamoto oyster with watermelon pearls and cucumber mignonette, but I’ve alerted the o ya staff that I am allergic to oysters (and fish sauce) so some of my courses were customized and thus I had some different bites from my dining companions.

2 – hamachi with spicy banana pepper mousse *favorite*

Last year, I picked my top three favorites and this hamachi was one of them. For this grand omakase post, I am marking my top five favorite dishes. I am aware that not everyone can afford (nor even want to have) a very, VERY expensive meal, but I do think that o ya is one of the best restaurants in Boston, so if you can go – even if you’re not having the tasting menu – I am recommending some incredible dishes marked as my favorites.

3 – wild king salmon with spicy lemongrass curry sauce, toasted garlic & sesame

4 – Maine sea urchin with white sturgeon caviar

5 – kamasu wild line caught Japanese barracuda with yuzu truffle and shiso

6 – langoustine tempura with spicy sauce *favorite*

This was a “special” course for me, in lieu of the fried kumamoto oyster. Let’s just say that’ I’ve never been happier to have an oyster allergy at this point. I only discovered langoustines this year and this langoustine tempura was sublime. It was the spicy sauce that sealed the deal, and my friend Alyssa, who is the manager at o ya, said that there are so many components and steps that go into making this sauce.

let me take a break from the food and talk about my glass of sparkling sake – this was my ideal kind of sake: sweet, with a creamy vanilla flavor. It was the Poochi Poochi Sparkling Sake, and I’m going to try and look for it in specialty liquor stores

7 – bluefin toro tartare with white alba truffles, sea salt, garlic *favorite*

I wanted to lick the plate clean, I really did. (But I did not.)

8 – house smoked wagyu

I got this instead of the salmon with Vietnamese dashi caramel and spicy rau ram salsa that was on the menu that night. Again, I think I lucked out, because if I had to choose between salmon and wagyu, I would definitely pick the wagyu.

Wagyu refers to a kind of meat with intense marbling. According to wikipedia, “The meat from wagyū cattle is known worldwide for its marbling characteristics, increased eating quality through a naturally enhanced flavor, tenderness and juiciness, and thus a high market value.” There are different breeding techniques all over the world to achieve the increased marbling and incredibly tender meat. For instance in Japan, the wagyu cattle are massaged (yup), and fed beer or sake.

The piece of house smoked wagyu was indeed tender and meaty, but this was NOT the best steak of my life that I referred to earlier. (Besides, I’ll need more than one bite to give that title away.)

9 – bluefin tuna with carmelized onion, foie gras ponzu, crunchy gobo

10 – Alaskan king crab sunomono

I have to admit that I did not like this at all (in fact, I even gave the rest of mine away). It was a little too fishy/cold/sweet for me. This was supposed to be a palate cleanser, but I prefer to cleanse my palate with something like this:

sake (we had the Dassai Junmai Daiginjo Nigori)

11 – aji tataki with scallion ginger powder, daikon pickle, myoga

12 – smoked unagi with soy maple and pickled ginger

13 – foie gras miso, preserved California yuzu

I really like foie gras, but I wasn’t a big fan of this version. It looks powdery but the texture was similar to mousse, and I the yuzu was a little too salty for me. I did like the tempura flakes at the bottom though. Oh well, I guess there was bound to be some misses in a 22-course dinner…

14 – bluefin otoro with wasabi oil and lots of green onion

15 – arctic char that was yuzu cured, with smoked sesame brittle cumin aioli, cilantro

16 – hokkaido sea scallop with burgundy truffle, sake sea urchin jus, chervil

17 – shiso tempura with grilled lobster, charred tomato, ponzu aioli

18 – “faberge” onsen egg with white sturgeon caviar, gold leaf, dashi sauce, green onion *favorite*

I absolutely loved this dish. It was beautiful and decadent.

19 – grilled chanterelle and shitake mushrooms with rosemary garlic oil, sesame froth, soy sauce

From my o ya review last year, I quoted my favorite food writer Frank Bruni talking about this dish. (And if you go back to that review, you’ll see a big improvement in my photography skills hehe). His observations are spot-on.

In the “Sliced” episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate on the Food Network, Frank Bruni chose this dish. And in his NY Times review review, he reveals:

“At the risk of putting my credentials as a carnivore in doubt, I must say that the best dish on the menu — maybe the best dish of my entire journey — came from the menu’s vegetable category. Called “grilled sashimi of chanterelle and shiitake,” it seemed to me to settle any and all debate over umami, which has to exist if only to explain why these thinly sliced mushrooms, brushed with soy sauce and a rosemary garlic oil, have such a full, magnificent taste. Sesame gets some credit. In fact sesame gets a lot of credit, contributing to both a froth of porcini and milk that covers the so-called sashimi and to a brittle that’s sprinkled on the froth.”

20 – seared petit strip loin of wagyu *FAVORITE*

I’m hesitant to admit that my favorite dish at a Japanese restaurant known for its sushi is steak, but it was true the first time, and it’s still true for this meal. The seared strip loin of wagyu was so incredibly tender and cooked to perfection. I loved the potato slices, the salty crust, the touch of trufle oil. Hands down, this was the best steak I’ve ever had.

 

21 – Hillman fresh chevre woth asian pear, vanilla, nori…

… paired with plum liqeur (Mito No Kairakuen)

last course: 22 – foie gras nigiri with balsamic choclate kabayaki, claudio corallo raisin coca pulp…

… paired with aged sake (Hanahato Junmai Kijoshu)

Amen.

The grand omakase is something worthy of very special occasions, and this time the occasion was celebrating the hard work put into Tasted Menu (if you want an early invite to the website that is just about to launch next month, you can use the word “bianca” as your invite code) as I was dining with Tasted Menu’s CEO and founder Alex Rosenfeld and the website’s top contributors: me and my friends/fellow bloggers Daisy and Rachel.

We had a wonderful time and this is certainly one of the most memorable meals I’ve ever had. Was it too much? Certainly. And there were a few courses that I wasn’t exactly exuberant about. I also am not going to lie, but I wish there were a couple of dessert bites at the end. I mean, sure the chevre and the foie gras with chocolate can be considered dessert, but nori isn’t something I want to end a meal with, and I would’ve preferred a hunk of chocolate. But that’s just me. However, the grand omakase is such a stunning, marvelous, one of a kind experience, and it’s something that I would remember for the rest of my life.

If you are in the Boston area and willing to drop some serious $$, I highly recommend the omakase at o ya for a special occasion dinner. And even if you’re not doing the grand tasting, I still urge you to try my favorites: hamachi with spicy banana pepper mousse, langoustine tempura with spicy sauce, bluefin toro tartare, the “faberge” egg, and of course – the seared petit strip loin of wagyu.

If you could have one extremely extravagant meal anywhere in the world, what would it be?

O Ya on Urbanspoon

See my favorite dishes at this restaurant on Tasted Menu

   

26 Responses to “My Most Extravagant Meal”

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    Michelle posted October 23, 2011 at 10:42 am

    LOVE O-Ya! Bret and I went there for our anniversary a few years back and had an equally extravagant and fabulous meal. My other extravagant meals was the tasting menu at Arrow’s – fantastic!

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    Megan posted October 23, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Can’t believe you had 22 courses! #17 sounds the best to me! I’ve never been but will have to add it to the never-ending list!

    • Bianca Garcia replied October 23rd, 2011 at 6:36 pm

      Megan – I was considering #17 for my top 5 too. Last year I had something similar and one of my friends said it kinda tasted like a sandwich, because of the grilled lobster, charred tomato and aioli. It was really good, almost like super upscale finger food!

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    A Plum By Any Other Name posted October 23, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Oh WOW. I have o ya envy. Seriously.

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    Emily @ A Cambridge Story posted October 23, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Oh that steak does sound incredible. As does the plum liqueur. What a fun treat!!

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    Daisy posted October 23, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    This experience will forever be imprinted in my memory, and I am so glad I got to share it with YOU! Obviously, I echo your sentiments all around. O Ya is the best of the best!! We are incredibly lucky for this meal.

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    MelissaNibbles posted October 23, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Everything looks so decadent. It sounds like an amazing experience. So lucky!

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    Lindsay posted October 23, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    I am mega curious as to what you mean by “serious $$” – this is all very unknown territory to me – I have little experience with this kind of cuisine! What an amazing sounding experience! I love food.

    • Bianca Garcia replied October 23rd, 2011 at 6:38 pm

      Hi Lindsay! The grand omakase is $275 per person (before tax and tip) and there is an additional $150 for a beverage pairing… It’s serious $$ right??

  8. #
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    Lindsay posted October 23, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    HOLY wow. Haha, I really had no idea what to expect in terms of cost! That is some serious dough for food, but it sounds worth it :)

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    Kerstin posted October 23, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Wow, sounds amazing, so glad you enjoyed it :)

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    Elizabeth posted October 23, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    I can say with a fair amount of certainty that I will probably never eat at o ya due to the mainly meat and fish. So I’m glad to experience the beautiful visuals through you.

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    christina posted October 23, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    this is intense and i love it. everything looks sooooo pretty.

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    Meghan@travelwinedine posted October 24, 2011 at 7:58 am

    That looks like quite the meal!

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    Joanne posted October 24, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Wow. This meal really is one for the books! Insane! Amazing! And a whole bunch of other adjectives that I’m drooling too much to think of right now.

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    Kim K posted October 24, 2011 at 11:32 am

    my uncle (who’s a chef) and his hubby went to o’ya for their anniversary and got the tasting menu as well, and said nothing in the world can compare to that meal. i would LOVE to go there and try that tasting menu….although i dont have the money to drop on that quite yet! :) so glad you had an amazing time.

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    Heather posted October 24, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Looks amazing, what a cool dining experience. If I had to pick one place for an extravagant meal is have to say Italy bc Italian cuisine is my fav.

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    Juliana posted October 24, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Wow, they all look delicious…I would love try this all…one day :-)
    Hope you have a great week and thanks for sharing such a great experience Bianca!

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    Simply Life posted October 25, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Looks like an incredible time!

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    Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday posted October 26, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    That sounds amazing.
    I can’t even imagine being able to have the opportunity to have such a fine dining experience like that. 22 courses?! Wow.
    And everything looks so perfectly executed too. That is quite the celebration dinner.

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    Beth (Well I'll Be) posted October 28, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Wow, this is the most extravagant meal I’ve ever even read about. Sounds like an unforgettable experience!

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    Susan posted October 30, 2011 at 11:08 am

    It’s so cool that Boston houses one of the best in the world. I’ve always been curious to go there.

    • Bianca Garcia replied October 30th, 2011 at 6:04 pm

      I hope you do get to go Susan! It’s undeniably an expensive splurge, but great for special occasions.

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    Amanda L. (Tales from a Kitchen Misfit) posted October 30, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Amazing! O Ya is definitely on my bucket list of must go to restaurants!

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    Shannon posted November 1, 2011 at 11:36 am

    holy cow, that is amazing. what an evening :)

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    Mary posted November 1, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    oh. my. word. I am not even a sushi girl and the entire menu looks so beautiful, I would have tried ALL of it. That steak sounds and looks way beyond delicious!

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