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Mar 14, 2014 08:24 AM

Omakase at Jewel Bako

I tried the sashimi omakase at Jewel Bako last weekend (note this is the omakase that comes on one platter, not the chef's tasting menu). I've heard such good things about the sushi here, and the Michelin star is certainly very impressive, but I felt like I was expecting a little more from my experience.

Obviously the quality of the fish here is high, especially the toro, but I didn't experience that melt-in-your mouth quality with each piece. The white fish like amberjack and yellowtail in particular were a bit disappointing. I was curious to see if anyone else had a similar experience here and am wondering if I need to be trying something else (select, specific pieces or rolls) to get that Michelin experience? I think I definitely prefer Ushiwakamaru to here, although the tamago at Jewel Bako is probably the best I've had. And the trio of tartares was fantastic as well.

And any recommendations on affordable, $40-$60 omakase worth going to is highly appreciated!

For more context on specific pieces, you can read below:

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  1. They are not giving out Michelin stars for assorted sashimi platters, which is what that is. In Japanese it's just called "sashimi moriawase". I guess tacking on "omakase" makes it sound exotic. But anyway, if you want to compare sushi restaurants, I suggest doing it sushi to sushi and not sashimi.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Silverjay

      I agree that you don't award Michelin stars for omakase, you're awarded based solely on the quality of the food. I learned this from a video online of an interview with a Michelin reviewer whose identity was shrouded, wish I had a link. Maybe I wasn't clear, but other than the toro, I found the other pieces like the amberjack, yellowtail, uni or red snapper a bit lacking, so based on these assessments of the food itself, I was wondering about the Michelin star rating a bit.

      1. re: gabandgobble

        They are not going to base much of the award on a sashimi sampler or sashimi in general for that matter. A sushi restaurant's quality pretty much rests on the preparation of nigiri.

        1. re: Silverjay

          Jewel Bako is reasonable in price and the atmosphere and service is exceptional. They got their Michelin star when Massa from 15 East was the sushi chef. I'm not sure how Michelin works i.e. they have to keep earning it, or once you have it you kind of pretty much keep it. Chef Yoshi-san is a nice guy and his anago he steams in banana leaf, I think it is his best sushi dish.

          1. re: foodwhisperer

            My friends ordered the sushi omakase, so they got to try the anago. They did comment that the eel was very good. I'll keep that in mind for next time.

            I agree the atmosphere is great, and if you order select sushi pieces, a dinner here is reasonable in price. However, I wouldn't say Jewel Bako's $115 chef's omakase is all that much of a bargain. Isn't Tanoshi and Sushi Dojo cheaper? I'd say $65 is reasonable, but once you break $100, then less so.

            1. re: gabandgobble

              The price isn't as set as it may seem. I paid around 80 last time for the chef's omakase, i guess it is either their mood or if they know you . But 15 east is always at least 150 and ichimura is a firm 150.. So I think it's a good deal.

    2. This previous thread may be helpful for another reasonable omakase meal: