o ya Restaurant Review

Tim and Nancy Cushman moved into their beautifully rustic wedge of Leather District real estate, a former firehouse on a crooked side street, and

set up shop as a minimalist sushi bar with little fanfare. Maximum, however, is the only way to explain its impact—and the serious buzz has yet to let up. That’s because chef Tim, a Nobu Matsuhisa protégé, is the real deal, as is his wife, a saké sommelier. You’d be hard pressed to find a local repertoire, Japanese or otherwise, as creative and globally influenced as his—only Clio/Uni, Oishii and Neptune Oyster come immediately to mind—and few are as pricey, bite for bite. But then, omakase at o ya (a must for all but the most birdlike of eaters) is not merely a meal, but a capital-E Experience. The menu changes regularly, and the fall brings gem-like morsels that leave lasting impressions, like wild rock shrimp kakiage in a clear herbal broth and finished with fresh yuzu zest and warm sesame mayo. And if you can imagine the likes of fried Kumamoto oysters with yuzu aïoli and squid ink bubbles; silken slivers of foie gras with balsamic-chocolate kabayaki and raisin-cocoa pulp; or shiso-leaf tempura with delicately grilled lobster, then you know what sort of transporting tastes await.