Details: Located at 8 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011, among other locations. Official site is http://ootoya.us/
Ootoya is part of a chain of Japanese restaurants which do Japanese food, but more authentic. No reservations unfortunately. I had to put my name down and wait around fifty minutes.
The space is large and calming. It’s clean and all the tables are given plenty of space from each other. The entry way is also worth a mention since it is a wooden cage that separates the entrance form the rest of the restaurant. It helped to increase my anticipation of dinner there when we were finally let inside.
Service was fine. The wait staff were very nice, although it seemed like the waiter/waitress who waited on us may have been a new hire. We had to show them where everything we ordered was on the menu in order to confirm it. No biggie.
Most of the items on the menu offered the item a la carte or as a set. Sets come with the item ordered, rice, miso soup, pickled stuff, and steamed egg custard. We ordered three things: the Katsu Toji (pork loin served in a bubbling pot with egg, onion, and some broth), the Kaisen Don set (assorted sashimi over rice, including fresh uni), and the Gyu Shio Koji Don (grilled slices of washu beef).
It was all delicious. The egg custard was amazing; hot, steamy, and soft, with a thin layer of some kind of tangy sauce over the top layer of the custard. The sashimi served was extremely fresh and the sea urchin was wonderful. The pork loin was fine. The washu beef was good as well, but not extraordinary compared to a good steak house.
We ended the meal with the crepe dessert, which was a crepe filled with some kind of cream and red beans alongsie a scoop of green tea ice cream. Also good.
Score: 7/10 Tasty, but the lack of reservations is annoying. They seem to be opening a new location in Greenwich Village. The one I went to was in Chelsea and someone opined it may be the most comfortable of the three current locations.