Throughout the year, Restaurant Editor Bill Addison will travel the country to chronicle what's happening in America's dining scene and to formulate his list of the essential 38 restaurants in America. Follow his progress in this travelogue/review series, The Road to the 38, and check back at the end of the year to find out which restaurants made the cut.
A dish called "legs and eggs" could yield something bizarre in the wrong hands—a Thomas Keller knockoff gone awry, a stab at wit that tries too hard and peters to a flat punchline. At O Ya, what comes under that label is an expression of harmony, and one example of chef-owner Tim Cushman's elegant redirection of Japanese cuisine. The idea for the creation began with a piece of nigiri sushi, the rice properly warm and threaded with vinegar. Cushman, a New England native, had Maine lobsters in his kitchen and wanted to use every part of them. He thought about his childhood, when his mother would employ a rolling pin to extract the meat from the creature's spindly legs. They were Cushman's favorite part.