Posted by: Orlick | March 28, 2008

Omakase!

My first experience with omakase a few weeks ago..

If you don’t know already – omakase is where you give permission to the chef to give you anything that he wants. This can be adventurous for the eyes, the stomach, and also the wallet…

I am stepping up my sushi game lately. I am giving myself an interactive education as I have been reading the book Zen of Fish and going out to sushi bars about 2x a week. I’ve heard a lot of talk about omakase. It took a bit to get it off the tip of my tongue. I finally did the other day….

I ask to sit at the bar. The waitress offers a menu. I decline and say I will order only from the chef. When the chef brings his attention to me after chatting with friend at the bar, I tell him to give me whatever is fresh. He sort of questions me, then I tell him “Omakase!” He ceases his conversation with his friend and gets serious.

Now he brings out a plate on the bar and starts pulling fish from the case. One by one, he grabs and grabs, slices, organizes. He must have put his hand on nearly every fish in the cabinet! More and more and more, just keeps cutting. He makes a plate with sashimi of toro, yellowtail, scallops(!), tako, king fish sashimi. It looks like the side of a mountain when he is done. Very interesting.

He also gives me a plate with nigiri of fluke, salmon, shrimp, tuna, and yellowtail. This was pretty nice, only the fluke really got me excited. It was not the regular fluke, it was engawa – which is the abductor muscle along the top. This is a part that usually thrown away. I love it when people choose not to throw away the “weird” parts and use them to make something incredibly interesting – this is basically the cornerstone of jewish and asian cooking.

I’ve never had scallop before. Its soft and it took some courage to put it down. Kingfish was very different from what I’ve had before, kind of darker, more dense.

He also gave me a roll with about 10 pieces which had avocado, smoked salmon, and maybe tuna. It was pretty good. Thank you chef.

I didnt bring my camera to the restaurant, but I did grab the bill.
omakase bill

total damage: 46 dollars. When I said omakase initially, the guy next to me said “ohh, I would do that but it can get expensive.” I started to sweat a bit, but really how much could it be? It wasn’t so bad. It was a very cool experience. Next omakase I will take a friend and we will have more fun!

Sapporo in Wantagh, NY

Links:
Great post explaining WHAT IS OMAKASE?
sushi terms
How much do I tip at the sushi bar?

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Responses

  1. Nice introduction to ‘omakase’. I would say it is best to try it at a place where you’ve been at least once or twice—ie, where the itamae has at least some idea of your preferences (and believe me, they will remember.) In other words, do you prefer fatty fish like chu-toro, sake, etc…richer-tasting shell-fish like hotate-gai, or leaner offerings. If your chef is a good one (and there are many out there) it may only take 1/2hour or so for he/she to discern your preferences and make you a truly memorable customized experience. But you *should* take that time to decide what *you* think of the chef! Is he/she responsive? Paying attention to your preferences? If not, try elsewhere.

    It certainly does pay to build a relationship (even 1-2 visits) with a chef. If they are good, you will notice it by their attention to you. If not, best to take your dollars somewhere else!


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