Budget friendly Omakase?
Or is that an oxymoron?
I love sushi, especially sashimi, and I enjoy getting omakase because I often end up with things I would not have otherwise tried or known to try.
I know that Umi Sake house does them at different levels, and I have found that their $25 sashimi one is good, fresh, plenty of food for the 2 of us, and is different every time I am in there.
However, I would love to hear about other places I can get delicious and varied omakase that fits into my budget.
I'm confused about the definition of omakase. I thought it was a call-ahead, chef's choice, artfully prepared, multi-course meal. Not the kind of thing you can accomplish on a whim, and definitely not for less than, say, $75.
Are there different kinds of omakase, or less traditional versions?
There are many variations on this. Some restaurants (like Nishino) offer 2 versions, both the more elaborate high-end call-ahead prix-fixe version (which probably evolved from the traditional multi-course kaiseki dinner, with both hot and cold entrees), and the more spontaneous walk-in-the-door version (often at a lower, or at least flexible, price point, and often mostly either sushi or sashimi). Some places offer 2 spontaneous versions, one on the menu and one at the discretion of the chef (e.g. Gari in NYC). Some places are even more flexible (e.g. Ota in San Diego), offering either hot plus cold dishes, or just cold sushi, or just cold sashimi. Others seem to offer only one version or the other. I would agree that the 1st version is typically more expensive ($75 and up), although sometimes you can get it cheaper (e.g. Minako in San Fran). The cost of the second version is a function of how far the restaurant and the customer are each willing/able to go.
OKay, well I am here to report back.
Last night we went to Shun, and it was delicious, as always. The chef was friendly and asked about what we ate and what we liked so he could design it to our liking. He asked us to tell him when we were 80% full so he knew when to stop making us food.
I will try to remember everything we ate, but I will add that for the $30 a piece we paid, it was the only way I will eat at Shun again.
King crab and seaweed salad, toro nigiri, mackerel nigiri, uni sushi, the best unagi nigiri I have ever had (the only time I have actually liked this one), deep fried spanish mackerel bones, geoduck nigiri, salmon nigiri, squid nigiri with shiso, flash grilled scallop nigiri, monk fish liver, and the egg stuff stuffed with rice.
Basically it was 3 categories: 1) stuff I had never tried 2) Stuff I hadn't always thought was that good, but was suddenly amazing and 3) new preperations of stuff I usually order
This is why I love omakase, it allows you to learn more, try more.