French and Japanese cuisine are usually at the pinnacle of the food chain in the West and the East respectively. No other country has really shown the type of remarkable elegance, dedication and diversity. What if you mix both? I’ve been always wary of fusion restaurants mixing two or more different culinary influences because more often than not, the execution doesn’t work and the virtue of each cuisine doesn’t quite shine. When Kyo Ya, which is one of my absolute favorites when it comes to Japanese food, decided to open a new French-Japanese spinoff, however, I knew I had to try this place. If Autre Kyo Ya can pull off even half of what Kyo Ya has shown me, I thought this would be a very pleasant dining experience. Overall, it didn’t have the magic that I experienced at its original counterpart, but I thought the efforts to bridge the two cuisines more or less worked.
At Autre Kyo ya, there are two chefs (one with French training background and the other having previously worked at vegetable-focused Japanese restaurant Kajitsu in the city) at the helm. The food at Autre Kyo Ya is on the more affordable side compared to kaiseki-focused Kyo Ya, and there were a lot on the menu that intrigued me, starting with sea urchin consommé gelee that had onsen-style egg and parsnip puree. I wished the dish came as a hot appetizer instead of cold one, but overall I liked the chilly sensation from the gelee combined with sea urchin. It really shows a lot of thoughts and creativity have been put in dishes here. I’ve never had quinoa risotto before, but the one that the kitchen put together, accompanied by fish and Asari clam, was quite delightful even though I think it would’ve worked even more wonders with just rice. The aromatic broth was soothing and the combination of seafood that went into it worked surprisingly well with the quinoa. Both entrees we tried were a little more straightforward but overall solid. Washu meat accompanied by sweet potato puree and seasonal carrots was very well-cooked even though I wished the seasoning were just a tad bit moderated. Within the special seasonal menu, we went with kamadaki rice in a pot that had little shrimp toasts as well. I loved the texture of the rice that was perfectly firm, and wondered what would’ve happened if other ingredients such as mushroom had been added to it. We finished the meal with somewhat pedestrian chocolate molten cake with brown rice ice cream. I would say the food leans more towards Japanese than French, but there were spots where I can tell that the kitchen put together a lot of thoughts into combining the two cuisine.
Getting a reservation at the restaurant wasn’t difficult, and the dining space wasn’t quite full, occupied mostly by Japanese people. Knowing Kyo Ya’s stellar reputation, it was somewhat puzzling (perhaps because this is still a pretty new restaurant?). The restaurant has a full bar with concise wine selections from different parts of the world. I liked the modern décor and vibe of the restaurant (somewhat looking more trendy than the serene feel of Kyo Ya). If you are interested in how a fusion of Japanese and French food works, Autre Kyo Ya would be a nice place to start.
- Creativity: 8.5/10
- Execution: 8.0/10
- Ingredients: 7.5/10
- Flavor: 8.0/10
- Texture: 8.0/10
Address: 10 Stuyvesant Street, New York, NY 10003
Telephone: (212) 598-0454