Dining

Tasting Tour: East 7th Street

by Jessica Allen, 10/03/2012

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  • Kyo Ya
    94 E. 7th St., 212-982-4140
    No website, no neon sign, no well-marked entrance. It's almost as if Kyo Ya wants to stay hidden. Yet its legion of fans can't seem to stay quiet, and a recent three-star review in The New York Times practically guarantees fame—and the need for a reservation to sample its elegant Japanese dishes. First, however, you have to find the place. Look for a sign that says "open" swinging from a metal gate, then negotiate the steep stairs. Once you're inside the basement space, tranquillity kicks in, thanks to gentle lighting and lots of wood. Kyo Ya offers à la carte options like pressed sushi, in which the fish and rice are shaped into a rectangle with a hot iron and often covered by a fine layer of kelp. But many diners opt for the kaiseki, the meal with more than 10 courses traditionally served during the Japanese tea ceremony. Its ingredients are selected first for their seasonality and second for their beauty.

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