The 50 Best Restaurants 2012: A Closer Look

For six of the restaurants on our 2012 list, we go a step further by showing you what makes them outstanding. Check out all of our 50 Best Restaurants 2012 coverage.


Each bite from Tim Cushman’s elaborate contemporary-Japanese menu—every painstakingly calibrated micro sea bean or watermelon pearl that garnishes the fresh slices of sashimi and nigiri—warrants a moment of silent appreciation. So, then: Shhhh.

Order the $175-per-person omakase, and your meal might look a little something like this (one plate at a time, of course).

closer look at o yaAll photos by Bruce Peterson / Styling by Kara Butterfield

a closer look at o ya1. Kumamoto oyster with watermelon pearls and cucumber mignonette
a closer look at o ya2. Hamachi with spicy banana-pepper mousse
a closer look at o ya3. Wild Ivory King salmon with lemongrass-curry sauce, toasted garlic, and sesame
a closer look at o ya4. Warm eel with Thai basil, kabayaki, and fresh Kyoto sansho
a closer look at o ya5. Kinmedai with ume vinaigrette and shiso
a closer look at o ya6. “Legs and Eggs,” petite Maine lobster legs with white-sturgeon caviar and tomalley aioli
a closer look at o ya7. Squid with uni butter, uni powder, micro sea beans, and shiso
a closer look at o ya8. Wild bluefin tuna with “Republic of Georgia” herb sauce
a closer look at o ya9. Salmon with Vietnamese dashi caramel and spicy rau ram salsa
a closer look at o ya10. Shima aji and Santa Barbara sea urchin with ceviche vinaigrette and cilantro
a closer look at o ya11. Sea bass with spicy cucumber vinaigrette, avocado, benitade, and cilantro
a closer look at o ya12. Tasmanian ocean trout with smoked salmon roe, wasabi vinaigrette, and cucumber bloom
a closer look at o ya13. Shiso-leaf tempura with grilled lobster, charred tomato,and ponzu aioli
a closer look at o ya14. Mushroom sashimi with rosemary-garlic oil, sesame froth, and homemade soy sauce
a closer look at o ya15. Seared petite Wagyu strip loin with bone-marrow chawanmushi and toasted-garlic sake-soy sauce
a closer look at o ya16. Miso-marinated Delice de Bourgogne cheese (paired with Harpoon Rye IPA)
a closer look at o ya17. Foie-gras nigiri with balsamic-chocolate kabayaki, raisin-cocoa pulp, and a sip of eight-year-aged sake
a closer look at o ya18. Chocolates (three varieties): Salted hojicha caramel; pomegranate, rosewater, and elderflower; and yuzu koshogianduja, and sesame brittle