James Beard Award-winning Chef Tim Cushman is Chef Owner of o ya, a contemporary Japanese restaurant, in Boston. o ya was named by New York Times as the #1 new restaurant in the U.S. in 2008 and was awarded a rare food score of “29” in the 2011/12 Zagat Guide.
Cushman is excited to open Hojoko, his second restaurant concept in Boston. Hojoko will be a fun, high-energy izakaya (Japanese pub) due to open later this Fall in The Verb Hotel. The Verb Hotel sees the dynamic reimagining of a classic mid-century motel, which reconnects it with the rich musical and artistic roots of the Fenway neighborhood. Located at 1271 Boylston Street, the property builds on the legacy of the Fenway Motor Hotel that first opened its doors in 1959, fully restoring its now iconic modernist architecture.
Chef Cushman has spent the last 30 years cooking around the world in Japan, France, Thailand, Italy, Germany, Hong Kong, London, Mexico and Taiwan. He served for seven years as a Corporate Chef with Lettuce Entertain You in Chicago where he developed menus for new concepts. In 1994, Cushman launched a consulting business to develop menus for restaurateurs, from independents to large operators. Presently, Cushman is Chef Owner of o ya and consults on various restaurant projects.
We were lucky enough to receive his list of favorite spots to eat around the world. Here are Chef Tim Cushman’s top restaurants in the world:
Urasawa – Los Angeles, CA
Chef Hiro Urasawa creates a perfect omakase in a very intimate setting tucked into a busy Beverly Hills shopping area. I was lucky enough to be able to spend a week with Chef Urasawa before opening o ya and was blown away by his inventiveness and technique.
Yonemura – Kyoto or Tokyo, Japan
I first went to the Kyoto location and loved the blend of French and Japanese techniques and flavors. His sense of whimsy and creativity is fun and delicious.
Gai Gai – Tokyo, Japan
This may be my favorite yakitori in Tokyo. It is perfection. Very traditional. Sit around the grills.
Kyoto Kitchou – Arashiyama, Japan
You can taste the history and tradition of the multiple generations who have run this restaurant outside of Kyoto. But they also use modern ingredients and techniques.
Noma – Copenhagen, Denmark
While this restaurant needs no explanation to most, it was a very unique experience that I’m glad to have had. You can taste the surroundings. This restaurant truly represents terroir in dining that you can’t really have anywhere else because it is so indigenous to that one location and so well-executed.
Frontera Grill/Topolobambo/Xoco – Chicago, IL
Chef Rick Bayless blows you away with his great palate and ability to deliver authentic Mexican food. You can taste the depth of his knowledge on the plate. He’s also an authentic guy.
The Restaurant at Meadowood – Napa, CA
Chef Christopher Kostow is doing some great things at the Restaurant at Meadowood. His tasting menu is high falutin’ dining with ballsy flavors (not sure if you can print that but it’s true).
Saison – San Francisco, CA
Chef Joshua Skenes takes live fire cooking to a whole new level. You feel like you’re in the kitchen and part of the kitchen action anywhere in the dining room. It’s a very open experience.
Yopparai – New York, NY
This tiny sake bar on the Lower East Side of NY defines umami in food. It’s great to eat excellent food with all that sake.
Brooklyn Fare – Brooklyn, NY
I dined here the week after they received their three Michelin stars. Luckily I had made the reservation before then. It’s a great evolution of very distinctly flavored small bites.
Roberta’s – Brooklyn, NY
Chef Carlo Mirarchi offers a high end tasting menu at Blanca which I have not had the opportunity to experience yet, but I can only imagine how amazing it is based on what he creates at Roberta’s. It’s in a funky neighborhood and a great time.