Need Help with Omakase @ Azami Tonight
Ok, my dining companion and I are feeling a bit adventurous tonight -- and so we got a bar seating @ Azami Sushi Cafe. We're both interested in the omakase but relatively inexperienced in that (in the past we've always just picked our own rolls and sushis) -- if anyone can offer advice on how that goes @ Azami (and how much it'll cost... in the ballpark figure), we'd much appreciate it.
we were unable to sit at the bar Saturday nite due to the larger group and the service by the 2 chefs completely failed us. this is not to say the food was bad but merely excruciatingly slow. i had a higher priced omakase set than my friend and his first plate was brought out after my 3rd has been served. we repeatedly discussed the situation with the servers and they thought of no remedies until someone in my party mentioned: "how about some miso soup? at least you guys can give the guy some soup"?
reviewing our entrees, it also seems we were shorted quite a few plates by not sitting at the sushi bar. at this price level, i'd return to Tama instead in a heart beat. finally, must mention every piece of nigiris self destructed upon being touched by chopsticks. totally unacceptable and perhaps the chefs being women had something to do w/ the lousy compaction of the rice? ;)
coincidence that i was there last night too for my 1st time. i have to agree that azami is excellent, beyond my expectations. i like the freshly grated wasabi, although little to none is even needed as the chef already applies a liberal amount to sushi. i sat the bar and was served by the better english speaker of the 2 ladies (name?). she was friendly and we chatted throughout the meal about the food. one item that i've never had before was tasmanian sea trout. it is orange in color like salmon but unique in taste. i also had seared/chopped toro lettuce cup, halibut sashimi, japanese snapper, albacore, sea scallop, tuna, toro, unagi, spanish mackerel, yellowtail, uni (we were hungry!). near the end of the meal we were asked if we wanted anything else before ending with a roll. added on sweet shrimp (so big it was served halved as 2 pieces!), kanpachi, another piece of yellowtail (gf loved it). We finished off with toro and blue crab handrolls.
came out to $150 after tax/tip for 2, with 1 small sake. overall, this is the best sushi i've had next to nozawa.
reporting back -- Azami's omakase was excellent . . . at $40/pp we definitely felt we got reasonably valued foods (2-3 of our 11 dishes was toro! and there were other rare items like yellowtail belly & japanese sea scallops). I did take the advice of getting "split plate" in order to sample more, and we indicated no uni, but love tuna & crab (and boy did we get many delicious pieces of that.) Loved the tuna crunchies and the albacore in smokey ponzu with scallion slices, as well as the blue crab hand roll with flying fish roe at the end.
We also splitted a plate of mixed sashimi, which was wonderfully prepared as well.
NEXT time, however, I probably will leave out the "no uni" rule -- I trust those amazing gals completely! (I may actually be going back as soon as Wednesday, depending on if my Mom cares for sushi that night.)
Thanks again for the help, everyone!
Azami is wonderful!
At the beginning tell them you want "omakase" or chef's choice. At this point you can tell them about what you want to spend ($35-$40/pp or $50/pp, depending on your appetite) and ask them if this is do-able. At this time also tell them anything that you do not care for: "no green onion, or no uni." I also usually ask to split each order between us, one piece each, so that you will get to try more of what they have before you get too full. Azami willingly does this, although not all sushi chefs are so amenable.
Nothing more is required of you except an occasional audible sign of heavenly pleasure! I was told that "omakase" is a real compliment to the chef because you are trusting them to give you their best for you. They love the feedback!
Just before I think I am done, I usually let them know that I would like just two more orders. I do this because quite often the chef will save something wonderful for the end, such as a blue crab handroll. I don't want to miss this, so I try to let them know how I am doing. In the reverse, they will ask you if you want anything else -- if they are done. At that time, if you are not full, you can let them know. This might mean that you are adding on to the pre-arranged beginning price, but at least you have that choice if you are not yet full.
About $40-$50/pp (before beverages, tax and gratuity) should do it, but discuss this at the beginning if you want to know for sure.
For the first time at a sushi bar, I think "omakase" is the only way to do it, because then you can sample what the chef considers to be their best. Next time, you will know exactly what you want at that particular bar, or you can do chef's choice again because it changes from season to season.