Thoughts on Omakase

Tsukiji Zen - Chef Selection of Sashimi over Rice

Omakase (お任せ o-makase?) is a Japanese phrase that means "I'll leave it to you" and the expression is usually used at sushi restaurants to leave the selection to the chef.

"My long held suspicion about "omakase" came true as I had my third, good, but not great, omakase meal.

To the uninitiated, "omakase" refers to "chef's choice" and involves a custom menu designed and chosen by the head chef.

Its often exciting, novel, and showcases specialties you may not be aware of or have ever tried.

Some people like to say their favorite cuisine is "omakase." But like saying your favorite website is Google, that empty statement doesn't actually reveal anything or show any culinary sophistication, despite the price tags associated with such meals.

Ideally, I imagine "omakase" works best when you are a frequent diner known to the chef and he knows your likes and dislikes. Or if you're a first timer, he interacts and cultivates his menu as he learns what dishes delight you. 

This is a rare feat.

Perhaps even a pipe dream and the active role is not only for the chef but for the diner as well." [June 17, 2008]

Nigiri Sushi - A la carte of uni, ikura, hotate, and toro.
Years later, I feel largely the same and my rule of thumb now is to order a-la carte unless I know and trust the chef. 


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