Japanese cuisine is insanely complex and multifaceted. While sushi, ramen, yakitori, and mochi may get a lot of the spotlight, we don’t want you to forget about some of the unforgettable yet beautifully simple Japanese homestyle dishes. That’s where Ootoya comes in. Set in a bit of an in-between neighborhood, this 2-floor gem features classic Japanese fare with some modern touches but none of the “new age” fuss. High ceilings, dark walls, clean wood, and glossy finishes make this place remarkably refined yet unassuming.There’s bar seating, table seating, and sushi counter seating to fit all your whims. The beverage collection will get you hooked on numerous new sake-sangria’s and teas while the menu itself is extensive with every type of protein in a medley of different preparations with highlights on their house-made soba noodles (hot or cold). Even dessert is a well-loved affair with many green tea options to satisfy any matcha craving.
Very worthy of mention is that many of Ootoya’s offerings, in true Japanese casual eatery style, come in lunch or dinner “sets” that include a chawanmushi (egg custard), rice, miso soup, and vegetables. These aren’t the dinky kind of sides you get at the sushi joint around the corner – sweet, fresh vegetables and miso soup full of umami. And don’t even get me started on the chawanmushi, so perfectly silky with a touch of sour plum. For me, it’s the perfect starter for any meal. But don’t walk out of here without trying their Maguro Tartare & Mini Soba! It’s the most beautiful sashimi of blue fin tuna on top of perfectly cooked cold buckwheat soba with scallions for a slightly sharp crispness and soy sauce jelly (yes, jelly!) for a fun textural and flavorful component. You’ll find their homemade items all very worthy of mention: tofu, chicken meatball yakitori, and all of their marinades.
Save yourself the airfare and go to Ootoya for a glimpse into truly authentic Japanese cuisine. There’s a suitable range of options for any diner: the homemade tofu and soba are very reasonably priced, and the dinner sets even a steal. Or, if you’re in the mood, splurge on the fresh sashimi. So many options, you’ll have to go time and time again. But seeing how much Ootoya service reflects Japanese hospitality, you’ll be grinning happily in anticipation every time!
David is the resident nerd around these parts. Running a popular tech blog (TheUnlockr.com) for the past 6 years, he’s taken his over-analytical mind and made the transition to food.