I wandered into Asanebo today because I was in the neighborhood, had 30 minutes to kill, didn't feel like trying Lala's (should I try it?), and had read good things here.
I mentioned to Koji San (name on sleeve...) that I had to be out the door in short order, but invited him to prepare whatever 3 or 4 dishes he'd recommend in what little time I had. Sort of a mini-omakase.
Koji obliged, delivering the following:
- house special salad with marinated mushrooms and frizzled potato shreds
- seafood cigar springroll with sweet onion salsa
- kampachi sashimi with jalapeno
- maitakke mushroom soup/tea served in a tiny tea pot, with gingko nut, shrimp, chicken, and a generous scoop of maitakkes, and a tiny wedge of "japanese citrus" to squeeze into the pot.
- halibut sashimi with meaty slices of fresh black truffle
I was out the door with about 30 seconds to spare, and have been on a cloud ever since. There must be something in that mushroom tea. It's somewhere between food and elixir - very heady stuff. When followed with the truffled sashimi, it was sublime.
In conclusion - Asanebo is really good. Less expectedly, if you hit the right place on the right day and put in for a mini-omakase, you can have a great micro dining experience. I know I did. Anyone ever try this mini-omakase trick before? It was almost like being on Iron Chef.
I have had the most inventive Omakase and the best service(for sushi) at Asanebo. It came with a steep bill which is why I have only been a handful of times. One thing with Asanebo is that it is best to avoid the Nigiri(they have never even offered it during an omakase - they used to not serve it at all) and as a result I don't get nearly as full. Its kind of ironic to leave a restaurant blown away by a dinner and yet still hungry enough to eat at a taco truck.
I agree with all of the praise for Asanebo. I'll admit that there is great sushi in this town and there are places that serve wonderful sushi, but Asanebo has taken the prize for Omakase in my books. Consequently, this is the BEST Omakase experience i've ever had and this place has truly topped all of the other sushi creations around town for me. The chefs are inventive and leave you with a true appreciation of their skill as well as of the culinary possibiities in the Omakase experience.