Having opened its doors barely a year ago in New York’s East Village, Autre Kyo Ya is the sister restaurant of the Michelin starred Kyo Ya. Compared to the wholly Japanese proposition of its older sibling, Autre Kyo Ya – as its name suggests – offers a fusion between modern French and refined Japanese cuisine. The restaurant is helmed by Executive Chef Shuji who has had the chance to work in both French and Japanese restaurants. During my recent trip to New York, I had the opportunity to drop by Autre Kyo Ya to try out its specialties and I must say the food was splendid (but more on that in a bit).
Entering the restaurant for the first time, I was greeted by warm tones (think: wooden concave interiors and ornamental plants) with undeniable Japanese accents. Autre Kyo Ya is not awfully big. I could count perhaps less than ten tables which help to create a relatively intimate setting even when the restaurant is full as it was during my visit.
I started off with a bowl of Fresh Oysters ($9 for 2 pieces). The restaurant serves Nisqually type of oysters which hail from Washington state. Compared to other types of oysters, they’re rounder and have relatively deeper cups. A wonderful teaser to the palate; the plump, buttery meat was sweet and extremely fresh.
The Hokkaido Sea Urchin Consomme Gelee ($16) came next. Served in a glass bowl, it came with onsen egg topped with gelee made from chicken and beef stock. To finish it off, pieces of delicate sea urchin which come from Maine encircled my bowl. To best enjoy the dish, I was told to mix them together and take my bites with the gelee, a piece or two of uni and the onsen egg. The mixture was a wonderful contrast in textures and flavors – with the sharp briny taste of the sea urchin juxtaposing against the custard-like egg while the gelee acts as a more neutral buffer between the two.
Of the two chilled small plates I had, I have to commend their Yuzu Smoked Salmon ($15). To put it simply, never before have I seen such a variety of textures within one chunk of fish. It came to me with a very tender and slightly raw bottom and a wonderfully crispy skin at the top. In between, the meat ranged from medium-rare quality to an almost fully-cooked texture. If you’d like to savor different types of done-ness within one piece of meat, this is definitely a dish to consider.
My favorite dish of the night, the Roasted Duck Breast ($28) was amazingly succulent and juicy considering it’s the breast part. Prepared medium rare, it came with sweet apricot ginger sauce.
I ended the meal with a relatively traditional Azuki Yokan ($7). Of the dishes I tried that night, my dessert probably had the least Western influence. The red bean jelly was more in keeping with the Japanese dessert I typically encounter but I found the matcha pleasantly bitter, just like how good matcha should be. Executive Chef Shunji grew up surrounded by tea fields so the careful attention paid to the matcha probably doesn’t come as a surprise.
It is noteworthy as well that the restaurant doubles as a bar and on any given evening, you’ll find a number of people trickling in not for the food but also for the drinks. Autre Kyo Ya also has set menus with suggested wine / sake pairings.
Autre Kyo Ya
10 Stuyvesant Street
New York 10003
Tel: +1 (212) 598-0454
Tues-Wed 5:30pm–11pm (last call 10:30pm)
Thurs-Fri 5:30pm-12am (last call 11:30pm)
Sat 11am-12am (last call 11:30pm)
Sun 11am-10pm (last call 9:30pm)