Thursday, April 15, 2010

A DC Weekend of Food- Part 1 - Oya

A last minute trip to the city for the second daughter model shoot in a month (different daughter this time) meant that we needed to stay in the city near my son's salon, PR@Partners at Metro Center. Since we were going to be there I wanted to find a really outstanding restaurant, but quickly found out that the very best restaurants are often booked well in advance. I wanted more than a meal, I wanted a great food experience with food and ambiance that matched, something I could never find within an hour's drive of Newport News. I wanted something special, something amazing.

After checking with friends, checking Washingtonian's list of favorite restaurants, Zagat, and fellow bloggers, I picked a handful and made calls and sent emails trying to find one that would take pity on me despite the fact that it was the final weekend of Cherry Blossom in DC. An email to Oya, a restaurant my son had been to before and one that came highly recommended and explained my situation and amazingly they said they could accommodate us. I had checked out the menu and Oya's menu included an Asian/French/American fusion that included dishes as diverse as a crispy shrimp roll, braised beef short ribs, and tofu caprese. This seemed like a great match for our family since we have very diverse food tastes. So with our dinner reservation made, we focused on our main reason for this trip- Bridget's editorial photo shoot. While she spent hours getting her hair highlighted, the rest of us checked into the Marriott at Metro Center Hotel and Molly and I checked out Filene's Basement, just about a block away at The Shops at National Press.

Finally, Bridget was finished for the night and she and young Gavin came to the hotel and we got ready to walk over to Oya for dinner. I have to admit I was a little anxious, because my husband is more of a traditionalist, and while he has adventurous taste in food, he is not that into the trendy, two-bite plate restaurant scene. It was really important to me that everyone have a great time and enjoy the evening. The jaunt to the restaurant was a very pleasant walk, and Oya's sleek glass facade was inviting, especially since we were all hungry.

Oya was breathtaking from the moment we stepped inside and saw the curtain of chains and the long modern fireplace. At this point (the chain wall) my husband said, "Never, never again",and I was really worried that this was going to be a really long night. We were quickly seated at a table near the fireplace, and our server came to welcome us and take our drink orders.While we waited we had time to look around and take in the incredible atmosphere. Besides the very cool fireplace and the aforementioned chain wall, a waterfall separated the front side of the house from the kitchen, a floor to ceiling capiz shell chandelier created a focal point and a wall of white roses continued a theme that combined old world elegance and modern lines into an environment that defies description. As we settled in, my husband began to relax a bit and our server brought us a dish of something that looked and tasted like bite-sized cheese popovers that we hot and delicious- light and airy. I had already decided I was going to take advantage of Oya's Prix Fixe dinner that offers three courses and a variety of choices- I saw this as not only economical but a great way to try several different dishes. Bridget, my husband and Molly all decided to do the same, but my son Gavin, a sushi aficionado, wanted sushi instead, so off we went. As the first course, Gavin Sr. and Bridget ordered the Spicy Tuna Roll , Molly ordered the chicken skewers that came with three different dipping sauces, and I ordered the calamari. Whatever doubts my husband may have had at the outset of the evening, were eliminated with the first bites of food- he thought the spicy tuna roll was the best sushi he had ever had. Molly, who at 15, is always the toughest to please, ate every bit of her chicken and everyone was sharing so that we could taste more than one thing. My calamari was as cute as it was delicious. Delivered in a small wire mesh basket lined with faux newsprint, they came with a spicy Thai chili sauce, the perfect complement for the crisp and tender rings. Portions were surprisingly good for a small plate-type restaurant, meaning that each diner could have a good portion for themselves with still a few bites to share.

The next course meant that young Gavin's plate of sushi arrived along with my husband's roast chicken, my salmon, Bridget's scallops and Molly's Spicy California and Chef Selection. While the music kept the energy up, our table was quiet as everyone was focused on their food which was incredible.My salmon was perfectly cooked, sauces were the understudy and not the star, and vegetables were crisp-tender. How do I know my husband loved his? Nothing but a bone left on his plate and he didn't even comment on the Lady Gaga music in the background.

Though we were getting full, we were anxiously awaiting our desserts since we had read a lot about Oya's selections. Molly and Bridget both chose the sorbet, which was three small scoops, one each of strawberry, coconut and mango. I had the molten chocolate cake that came with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream. Gavin had the bread pudding (no picture-it was gone before I could capture it on film!) that I had read a lot about and he was blown away-he usually doesn't like bread pudding but this dish was so good that he refused tastes of even my molten chocolate cake because he didn't want to spoil that taste on his palate!

Oya was everything I wanted for my city dining experience. So often a place that looks as impressive as Oya does not measure up when the food arrives, but we were all delighted-Oya was a place where the ambiance was more than matched by the delectable food. The Prix Fixe menu has got to be one of the best deals in Washington, but the full menu offers some really delicious sounding morsels that would bring me back to Oya. While the environs are unique and provide a plush and welcoming venue, it is the food that makes Oya something special.


Glenna said...

Mmmm...everything looks and sounds wonderful. And big congrats to Bridget--she's beautiful!

Eddie Lin said...

Good looking girls & good looking food!

Deborah Dowd said...

Glenna- It was amazing, and thanks for the nice words- my children are beautiful outside and in!

Eddie- and good looking girls enjoying good looking food!!

Nik said...

Oya is one of my favorite places. Next time when you visit DC do try Rasika, it is one of the best modern Indian restaurants.

Gourmet Free said...

Delicious !!!

It is so tasty so my mouth is full of water. i will it in my home but not getting as u.

Deborah Dowd said...

Nik- Thanks for the tip, I have heard lots of great things about that restaurant as well!

Gourmet Free- I know my pix and description don't do it justice!

Food Menu said...

This food seems out of this world! I love the pictures!

kiran said...

Hey this is my one of the favourate food. And all food is very good looking. And it is good if i got to eat now.

Stephanie said...

I've never been to Oya - thanks for sharing.

Deborah Dowd said...

Food menu- I wish my blog had taste-o-vision!!

Kiran - I know what you mean!

Stephanie- If you get the chance, check it out- it has got to be one of the best bargains in DC!

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