First Look at Covina, the New Cal-Med Spot From the O Ya Team

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The chickpea hummus comes with crudités.
The chickpea hummus comes with crudités.Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev

Aficionados of pricey omakase menus know Tim Cushman for his O Ya restaurants in Boston and New York, but his kitchen chops go way beyond creative raw-fish preparations. Cushman spent seven years as a globe-trotting corporate chef, and before that, in the ’80s, he worked at Trumps in West Hollywood for Michael Roberts, who became famous for serving lobster in vanilla sauce and making guacamole from peas decades before Jean-Georges Vongerichten had the idea.

Cushman plans to channel a little of that playful, multiculti, proto-California-cuisine spirit at his new restaurant, Covina, where the Cal-Med menu runs the gamut from lamb kofte to asparagus cacio e pepe. The Hungarian fry bread is topped with smoked salmon and “ranch” kefi, the charred broccolini is plated with tonnato sauce and dusted with nutritional yeast, and there’s dashi pickles on the cheeseburger. Pizza is a particular passion of Cushman’s, so he’s devoted a section of the menu to it. Several years ago, he installed a hand-built wood-burning Stefano Ferrara oven in his Norfolk, Massachusetts, backyard, and since his arrival in New York, he’s been on a pizza-eating tear. “Anytime I hear about good pizza,” he says, “I’m there.”

The fontina-and-Brussels-sprout pizza with optional egg is cooked in a wood-burning Stefano Ferrara oven.
The fontina-and-Brussels-sprout pizza with optional egg is cooked in a wood-burning Stefano Ferrara oven.Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev
Charred broccolini tonnato gets dusted with nutritional yeast.
Charred broccolini tonnato gets dusted with nutritional yeast.Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev
Whole roasted black sea bass is cooked on a wood grill.
Whole roasted black sea bass is cooked on a wood grill.Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev
The burger is made from a mix of chuck and wagyu flap meat and served on a housemade bun with American cheese, pickles, and special sauce.
The burger is made from a mix of chuck and wagyu flap meat and served on a housemade bun with American cheese, pickles, and special sauce.Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev
Housemade mandilli (handkerchiefs) pasta with pesto, housemade ricotta, and tomato.
Housemade mandilli (handkerchiefs) pasta with pesto, housemade ricotta, and tomato.Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev
Herb-roasted chicken with crouton salad.
Herb-roasted chicken with crouton salad.Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev
Asparagus cacio e pepe.
Asparagus cacio e pepe.Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev
Lángos, or Hungarian fry bread, is topped with house-smoked salmon and “ranch” kefir.
Lángos, or Hungarian fry bread, is topped with house-smoked salmon and “ranch” kefir.Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev
The dining room has 74 seats, plus more in the bar area; and there is a café up front with sandwiches and pastries by former Ubuntu pastry chef Deanie Hickox.
The dining room has 74 seats, plus more in the bar area; and there is a café up front with sandwiches and pastries by former Ubuntu pastry chef Deanie Hickox.Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev

Covina 127 E. 27th St., nr. Lexington Ave.; 212-204-0225*

*This post has been updated to show Covina’s current phone number.

*This article appears in the March 21, 2016 issue of New York Magazine.