What are the best Omakase I can get around the LA area for 50-100 dollars a head. Also, how much food do you typically get with an Omakase? Appreciate it!
So many people will say Tama, and I hear many have had great experiences there. Mine wasn't, but that was more a service thing than the food, which I found OK.
The best omakase I have had so far has been at Asanebo. I have yet to be able to afford the best in town.
Really,omakase is not supposed to be set, it should be the itame's whim. $50 to $100 is a little low. many places will let you quietly discuss your budget as you ask for Omakase, although the new fad is to call ahead, really, one should go into the bar, sit in front of the chef and ask for Omakase, maybe as an aside to the hostess who sat you say, I want to go to $100 per person. How much you get truly depends upon your budget and where you are
Some ground rules for Omakase:
The itame chooses what you eat. any allergies, you'd better let him know up front. It is rude to ask for specific things.
Ignore the soy sauce. the itame is handing you a dish the way he wants you to eat it. To dunk it in sauce is very rude and insulting.
Some plates, he will tell you which order to eat things in. Follow his guideines.
Really beer goes better with sushi than sake. If you must have sake, for God's sake, don't order hot. hot sake is for cheap sake and will sort of mark you as a newbie/twit. Get cold sake I would ask for a daigingo or, my favor, a nigorizake (sweeter, unfiltered).
Then again, beer alway is acceptable, and darn good at that
Eat each nigiri in one bite. do not take two or three bites. Hands are fine for nigiri. Do not even think of eating the fish off the rice and leaving rice!
Your itame will take you on a gustatory journey of delights, if he knows what he is doing. Enjoy
(and maybe up your budget a skoch!)
Agree with wilafur, it is not rude to ask for specific items. Some itamae (note spelling) will even ask you if there's anything you didn't get that you would like.
I also disagree about the soy sauce. It's pretty simple: in general, if there's something on top of the fish, you don't dip, but if not, dip away. Some itamae (as was discussed in a recent Zo thread) will tell you whether or not to dip.
About sake, what I learned in Japan was that only sake that doesn't taste good cold (generally cheap sake, as Diana said) should be served hot.
I don't know if many people feel Tama is the best in that price range. In the $50 range, maybe, but if you're going up to the $100 mark, I would think the consensus would be someplace like Zo.
btw, that omakase we had at Zo was 23 courses/pieces, including oyster, abalone, an interesting bowl of uni with squid, and hand roll, and finished off with a glass of delicious yuzu juice.
Another possibility is the new Katsu (NOT Katsuya). I went to the original Katsu in Los Feliz eons ago, but I haven't made it to this new one yet, although a very foodie friend tells me it's excellent. Not sure about the pricing (my friend ate about $200 worth, but that's him).
I don't have the omakase experience as some of the regulars, but have eatened my fair share of sushi. My first omekase experience at Katsuya in studio city was great! The sushi omakase is only $35 and we were both stuffed w/ the portions and quality was very good.
if memory serves me correctly....
1. tuna sashimi/ponzu sauce
2. miso soup w/ clams
4, 5, 6. set of 3-4 nigiri for each course. some uniquly prepared that i haven't seen before.
7. hand roll--choice of different crab..i believe i had blue crab
8. choice of dessert
I've eaten at Yasuda in NYC and while this doesn't compare exactly, it was just as enjoyable dining experience and you'll feel better about yourself for getting such a great deal. Just make reservations or be there 15 mins before opening.
To add to ns1's info, kaiseki can be a very formal experience. The meal may include things like sashimi and sushi, but one should expect a far greater array of prepared dishes that emphasize ingredients of the best quality (often artisan goods specifically sourced), uniqueness, and what is in peak season in the immediate locale or general region. Preparation will vary from very basic to somewhat complex depending on the featured ingredients, and plating/presentation of the featured ingredients is very aesthetic. Everything - the dishes, platters, trays, etc., should somehow reflect or conjur up thoughts about what the featured ingredients/dishes, the season, in harmony with the beautiful surroundings, etc. Each dish can be relatively small but each course will probably include mulitple items/dishes. I don't know if there is a standard, but I'm familiar with the meal consisting of around eight to 15 courses - I think a lot of it is how the house decides to present the various dishes, what goes well together on the palate, terra vs ocean, etc. One could expect service to be very stylized as well. If you're roots are in the US, you might feel somewhat uncomfortable because the servers will treat you in such an honored, almost unctuous manner...
(Excellent write-up by bulavinaka, and ns1 summarized it well, so I won't reiterate anything there :)
Just to add, technically you could say "Omakase kudasai" at various restaurants in Japan outside of Sushi and leave it up to the Chef / Kitchen to cook for you. You're essentially telling them that you're trusting them and leaving it up to them to come up with your dining experience's menu.
I hope you enjoy your Kaiseki experience at Kappo Hana this weekend! :)