Oya: on the fast track to 100’s Best

So last night I checked out Oya (777 9th St., NW). The restaurant calls itself, “Contemporary Asia-French fusion”. Traffic was horrendous, as there was a Capitals game at the Verizon center and a baseball game at the new Washington Nationals stadium. Besides that, getting to the restaurant was uneventful. It’s on the same block as Zayatina and the Capital City Brewing Company. They offer Valet, thank goodness because they probably know that there is no way that a diner would be able to find parking on their own, well especially not on a night like tonight.
Inside the restaurant is breath-takingly sexy and chic. It has a clean crisp design with white leather tables and chairs and the foyer is adored with a heavy metal chain link curtain on the wall. On the restaurant website, you can see their interior photo gallery for pictures. http://www.oyadc.com/Interior
The bar and lounge area had at least two areas that were reserved for special parties. The bar itself was fairly large and could easily accomodate a couple hundred people for a bustling happy hour.
One thing that I noticed right away once we were sat at our table, besides the decor, is the din. You can’t really hear the person sitting with you and you especially cannot hear your server. I had to ask my friend more than once what the server was saying. You simply cannot hear over the noise level in the dining room. I’m sure that the bustling lounge and bar area nearby didn’t help. The servers are dressed in head to toe black, which is a stark contrast to the tables and chairs. On almost every table there is a unusually tall thin bottle of trendy (probably over-priced) water (Zengo).
One very unique thing about Oya other than the decor is that they offer a prix fixe menu every day of the week. They offer a $20 lunch menu and a $30 dinner menu. My friend and I both ordered off of the prix fixe menu. For the first course, I ordered the coconut shrimp. It was cooked perfectly. Shrimp that is overcooked, usually is very rubbery. This was very good. The shrimp was lightly battered like tempura. Since Oya serves tempura, it was probably the same batter. My friend ordered the Spicy Tuna Roll (sushi) as his first course. I of course tried it and thought that it was spicy, but not enough so that you can still taste the tuna. There wasn’t a lot of the tuna in the roll. I thought that there was a lot of “white” in the roll (rice). I noticed that the wasabi was presented as if it was squeezed out of a decorators tube. We also ordered a California Sushi Roll. The ginger was un-died, it wasn’t that pink that you would find at other sushi joints.
For the second course, I ordered the Grilled Sirloin which I ordered medium. I rarely ever order red meat so rare, but I truly think that meats are juicier more rare. Boy, was I right! This steak was so moist, so tender, it almost melts in your mouth. My friend ordered the Chilean Sea Bass which came with stuffed roasted peppers. I did not try the peppers, as I am allergic, but the Sea Bass was perfectly cooked as well. It didn’t taste “fishy” at all. Light, soft, delicate buttery flavor; it was delicious. When I return, I will order the Chilean Sea Bass. For dessert, I had the trio of sorbets, mango, strawberry, and pineapple. All in all, when it’s all said and done, I think that the atmosphere makes it a great date place, but not for a first, second, or third date, as you would need to be able to hear someone that you are trying to get to know. I think the food was delish. I bet in a few years, it will find itself on the 100’s Very Best. I can’t wait to go back!

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