Address: 94 East 7th Street, New York (cross street: 1st Ave)
If our friends Alf and Nan didn't tell us about Kyo Ya, we probably would not have gone there until we see the restaurant on Michelin Guide (It was just awarded one Micheline Star for 2009). On top of that, Kyo Ya restaurant is discreetly located in the basement of a building in East Village and there are no signs outside. So this is definitely not the type of restaurant where you can just walk in and get a table.
The restaurant's interior is clean, modern Japanese. The menu is simple, light, delicate and traditional, with a focus of fresh and seasonal ingredients - kind of reminded me of the kaiseki dishes I had at Minoko in Kyoto. Speaking of kaiseki, Kyo Ya is actually known for its kaiseki ryori, which is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner (or lunch). However, the 10 course kaiseki dinner at Kyo Ya must be ordered one day in advance and doesn't come cheap - $120/$150 per person, not including drinks/alcohol.
Eating at Kyo Ya was one the most pleasant dining experiences I have had in New York; the restaurant is unpretentious, the food was excellent, the service was good and the atmosphere was relaxing and calm. I love every single dish we ordered, but the most memorable ones were the Yuba and Uni Yoshino style, Hokkaido Sishamo (male/female sishamo), black cod miso glazed and assorted Uni and sashimi (specials). The assorted sea urchin and sashimi dish in Kyo Ya was so delicious that it converted Gan into a sea urchin eater. For desserts, we ordered the black sesame ice cream and custard with mochi. They were amazing as well.
The great thing about eating at Kyo Ya is that you can be there as long as you like and there are no distractions, other than good food, excellent sake (a must try - Dassai 50, Junmai Ginjyo) and great company!