Kyo Ya

This place was totally unexpected. In fact, I wasn't even supposed to go to this restaurant at all. Originally we had tried to go to a casual place in midtown to try anmitsu, a Japanese dessert made (among many ingredients) with agar agar and sweet black syrup. But the place had totally changed its menu, so we did a web search for another place that served anmitsu and Kyo Ya came up in the results.

So imagine my surprise when we walked down the stairs and saw this beautiful interior with sleek wood slatted walls and stone floor with high ceilings. Every single detail was considered, from the carved wooden chairs to the tiniest spoon. Every single item was presented in a different piece of pottery - the bowl that the anmitsu came in was a soft matte finish on the outside and shiny reflective on the inside, felt so good to hold in my hands, and was exactly the perfect size and shape for the contents within.

The attention to detail extended to the food. We shared a few small dishes and cold udon. The bonito sashimi was meltingly tender and rich, while the scallops had the essence of wood smoke and ocean. We also couldn't resist the pork belly, the mustard gave it just enough kick to cut through the richness. I wanted to savor every single bite, there was such an incredible play between flavors, textures and even temperatures that kept the meal interesting from beginning to end. And of course the anmitsu was so satisfying, again a carefully composed dish that went from the rich earthy black beans to the chewy mochi like white balls to the cold creamy ice cream to the supple yet firm agar agar.

I highly recommend this place - but make sure you make reservations in advance, when we arrived all of the tables had been reserved ahead of time so we had to sit at the bar. It's definitely a good date place or for a special occasion, and for anyone who is looking for a refined yet satisfying dining experience.

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Last Date Visited: September 9, 2009


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