We have a soft spot in our hearts and stomach for Japanese food. We have tried a great deal of restaurants (brushstroke, nobu, Yasuda, Gari, Soto, oishii…) but one of our favorites hands down is 1 Michelin star Kyo Ya in the East Village!
This subterranean spot is modern and accented with lots of dark wood giving it that clean Japanese tea room feel. This place is the perfect environment for a cozy casual dinner with the parents, a romantic first date or a birthday with a group of friends,( there is a large private table in the very back that can accommodate 10 or so)
The staff is friendly, knowledgeable and very good at helping one navigate the menu.
Kyo Ya offers a $120-plus Kaiseki degustation menu—which requires two-days notice— We wanted to try this but went the a la carte route instead. Each dish was beautifully constructed in a way similar to Ikebana (the Japanese art of flower arrangement) Each dish was designed with a certain view in mind the waitress always places the optimal view in front of the lady. In our case this optimal view was placed in front of Jose, the man with the camera. So onto the food…
The sea urchin on tofu skin served in a clear broth had a beautifully delicate texture. The uni was incredibly fresh,soft and salty the flavors brought me back to my many accidental gulps of sea water when I was a child growing up in Maine. This dish was a home run! The only other place that could give this Uni a run for its money is Soto.
Squared Grilled Salmon Roll bozushi
The rice at Kyo Ya is perfectly prepared. Rice can make or break sushi for me and this one is sweet, vinegary and soft. This dish was perfectly constructed…the Salmon was incredibly fresh and the herbs and crunchy topping were surprisingly flavorful.
The duck was cooked to perfection. The salty flakes on top brought out the full flavor of the duck. Please don’t forget to order this dish!
Price: Around 80$
New York, NY 10079
Neighborhood: East Village