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“Kyoto without going to Japan.”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Kyo Ya

Kyo Ya
Ranked #3,945 of 13,552 Restaurants in New York City
Cuisines: Japanese, Asian, Sushi
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Neighborhood: East Village
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Kyoto without going to Japan.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 4, 2011

While browsing for a Japanese restaurant, I noticed Kyo Ya. There were so many outstanding reviews and photos from other people, we were most intrigued.

My husband and I travelled to Kyoto last Fall and experienced an authentic kaiseki at our ryokan. While we did not have the kaiseki at Kyo Ya (make a reservation at least 2 days in advance), the items we ordered were some of the same delicacies we had in Kyoto. We were sold once we saw Kyo Ya had an Asari Miso Soup (miso soup with clams). Each item was presented ever so delicately and beautifully. Dessert was my favorite, a combination of black soy beans, homemade vanilla ice cream, and different types of mochis and jelly. And to top it of a brown sugar syrup to pour over the dish.

This type of cuisine is not to be rushed. Our dinner took about 2-2 1/2 hours, NOT because of slow service but because we wanted to enjoy it. And we did!

Our server Yumi made the experience even better!

  • Visited July 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank uplatecakes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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58 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
“If you wanna taste real and unique Washoku rather than Sushi, this restaurant is definitely the one.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 15, 2010

If you wanna taste real and unique Washoku rather than Sushi, this restaurant is definitely the one.

Helpful?
Thank A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual contributor and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Good Japanese Place. Kind of expensive for the value.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 27, 2010

Good Japanese Place. Kind of expensive for the value.

Helpful?
Thank Lord_taiki
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual contributor and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level Contributor
329 reviews
293 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 183 helpful votes
“Overpriced Upscale Japanese”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 30, 2009

I recently read the book "The Year of Eating Dangerously" by Tom Parker Bowles, in which he travels the global sampling a variety of exotic meals. In one chapter he even tried blowfish, which could be deadly if cooked improperly. Soon after, I learned that this dish could be obtained at one of the many Japanese restaurants in the East Village. I stockpiled this foodie secret with the hopes of trying it one day.

I was strolling down this block of 7th Street one evening, when my friends and I noticed an intimate restaurant located in a basement. Judging by the style of the wooden decor that we could see through the window, we had an inkling this was some sort of Japanese spot. However, there was no signage clarifying one way or the other. We pondered the mysterious doorway for a few moments before our curiosity got the best of us, and we descended the staircase. We entered the beautiful space and were confronted with sleek wooden walls, minimalistic tables, and a small sushi bar. We checked in with the hostess and scanned the menu, which was when I spotted the blowfish! I had accidentally arrived at this culinary adventure cave. Since we had already eaten, we vowed to return on another occasion.

So, there I was about two weeks later. The staff was helpful and attentive. They provided fantastic insight on all of the unique menu offerings. They suggested that we proceed with a variety of dishes to sample. Our elaborate meal wound up taking close to 2 hours. While most dishes came in quick procession, there was a long delay between the first and second rounds.

Though the sake list was decent, the selection of regular wines was limited to 4 varieties available by the glass. We ordered a 5 ounce carafe of sake for an affordable $13 that provided about 6 small cups.

We began our culinary journey with the elusive Grilled Fugu Blowfish Tail. Each web-like tail possessed tender meat that was to be gnawed off like a buffalo wing. Eating by hand in such an exclusive, upscale place made the dish even more special. Each piece was perfectly grilled and marinaded, but a bit greasy. They were served with pickled daikon radish. A juicy Asian berry that resembled a pitted raspberry was given as a necessary palate cleanser.

We next enjoyed the Yuba and Uni, Yoshino Style. This bowl contained shreds of moist tofu skin covered in a milky sauce, resembling mac n' cheese. It was topped with a mound of fresh sea urchin. Strips of random red fishy-tasting crystals, thinly slices of seaweed, and a dab of wasabi were also mixed in. The seaweed strands added a texture contrast to the gooey broth. Each small spoonful was an indescribable delight that tasted as fresh as the ocean. However, the dish seemed to lack flavor at the bottom of the bowl, at which point l could only taste milky tofu; it went from flavorful to bland.

The cold Seafood Shutoan was actually disgusting! The scallop, blue shrimp, and king crab were cured in a bonito sauce. The scallop was fishy, but the shrimp and sole piece of crab were good. However, the sauce was the deal-breaker. It was milky, slimy, and tasted like some kind of salty mayo. The texture was nauseating.

The Ebi Shinjo appetizer was bite-sized shrimp mousse balls and vegetables in a thick broth. The fishy cakes were tender and full of fresh shrimp flavor. They were served in an aromatic and rich miso-y broth with baby corn, carrots, turnips, shittake mushrooms, and asparagus. Crispy chunks of brown sticky rice were also incorporated. There was only a small amount of broth in the shallow bowl, which allowed the vegetables to maintain their firm crunch.

The entree of Beef Maki Rice Balls better resembled sausages, which confused us upon their arrival. Thin slices of marinaded meat were wrapped around thick cylinders of ginger-flavored rice. The beef was lean and flavorful, but the watery marinade seemed over-cooked, with dark charred chunks floating around in it. In addition, the spicy ginger essence was imperceptible in the rice.

The Seasonal Fish Nitsuke was the highlight of the meal. Four large pieces of yellowtail steak were plated with massive, complimentary chunks of daikon radish. Both had been sauteed in a light, sweet soy sauce. The yellowtail was cut a bit unevenly, leading some bites to be more moist than others, but the delicious broth sold us on the dish.

Lastly, we wanted to try some of the sashimi. The chef's daily special menu had no prices, but apparently each order included a measly 2 pieces for an expensive $18! At this price you would expect the fish to be of the finest quality. However, the Black Sea Bass was extremely chewy. The Sea Urchin was served with a stack of seaweed for you to create your own hand roll. The urchin was good and tasted fresh, but left a weaker flavor and aftertaste than most usually do.

Kyo Ya left us with mixed feelings on the food, and a definite poor taste in our mouth when it mouth when it came to our $100 a piece checks.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank intlfoodtrvl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
“Nice food & service! Feel like staying at an old Japanese house.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 2, 2009

Nice food & service!
Feel like staying at an old Japanese house.

Helpful?
Thank A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual contributor and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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