Ever since the release of Jiro Dreams of Sushi, and one of his apprentices opened a sushi restaurant in New York, I hear that Omakase style sushi bar is becoming trendy in New York City and elsewhere.
While ordering Omakase is a custom many Japanese naturally learn, the concept strikes very foreign to many Westerners. “Is it just saying the word and really leave it to the chef?” Perhaps the word “What if…” would come to your mind. So, here are some tips on how to do Omakase, the chef’s choice.
Unless your restaurant is like Sukiyabashi Jiro’s in Tokyo, where there is no menu or omakase only, then you should be able to tell the chef your budget for the omakase at the beginning. Just say, “Omakase for two and my budget is $100 per person.” A good chef should honor your request and be able to give you the best that fits your budget. Of course, study their menu and knowing the market price would help to understand what you may get for $100 or $200.
Likes and dislikes
A good chef should ask you before the omakase meal what you like and what you dislike. Not all of us poses taste buds for uni, sea urchin. If not asked, tell the chef your likes and dislikes so that he can plan your meal accordingly. No one wants “surprise” he cannot eat.
When to stop
If you get full before the chef tells you that your omakase is done, you can tell him so. There is no need to wait to be told, thinking it may offend your chef. You can tell the chef, “ how about two more pieces and call it a quit?”