Leaving It Up To The Chef – An Omakase Experience

When something is quite out of the ordinary like my experience at Sakanaya, it’s hard not to want to share. I’m incredibly thankful for my husband and two friends who took me out a couple of weeks ago for my birthday to my first omakase experience. Omakase in Japanese basically means “I’ll leave it up to you.”  That means from the moment you sit down to the moment you leave, every dish you eat is selected by the chef. I didn’t exactly know this, but immediately figured it out after our first dish arrived within two minutes of sitting.

Sakanaya officially had its grand opening last week (Congratulations!!) but we had the opportunity to reserve during its soft opening thanks to the recommendation of a fellow Yelp Elite friend. Although I don’t have anything to compare it to, I can say that the service goes beyond expectations. While we had to wait about 10 minutes for our seats, the waitress offered us seats to sit in, tea to drink, and apologized for the wait. Towards the end, well… you’ll see. They simply made my day with a never-before-seen-”cake”!  But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.  Here’s a run-through of our meal experience!

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The first dish began on a score of 10 already. From left to right was a flavorful tuna with sesame seeds, tofu, and a piece of salmon that was rich in flavor and moderately fatty. It was unlike any salmon I’ve ever had, and so the few bites made you yearn for more.

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But you don’t have time to sulk in your desire for more… because then comes the next incredible dish that well… if you read my review on Yelp, we may have used the words “amazing” and “orgasmic” to describe it. (Ha!)  Never on a normal day would we ever hear of or enjoy monkfish liver, but that white cylindric piece of meat was unbelievably savory. I found out afterwards that it is quite special and often nicknamed the “foie gras” of the sea due to its flavor and texture.  Uh yes, we surely bow down to you, monkfish liver!

On another note, the toro fatty tuna and striped jack pictured were also quite good – pure, refreshing, and fresh.

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I had my first uni, which is the Japanese name for the edible part of the Sea Urchin.  It’s more of a high end treat, like caviar and foie gras, but I think it’ll be my only time. I wasn’t too thrilled about the texture, the smell, nor the actual “oceany” taste, but it was a privilege indeed to have tried it!

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The words “fresh, refreshing, and pure” as well as delicate apply to all of the sushi we had. As we sat and enjoyed every bite, you can watch the chef (Hello, Chef Shigeru!) create his masterpieces and serve them to you one by one. If you’re extremely hungry or in a hurry, this isn’t the place to go to but it is indeed a fine dining experience that is meant to be savored and enjoyed with time. Overall, our dinner lasted about 3 hours, but don’t worry… my belly was as fat as the fatty tuna. 🙂

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In between some of those sushi masterpieces, we were also served unique little dishes or dishes that have been ordinary-turned-unique.  Here is an incredibly crispy shrimp head where you literally eat the whole thing.

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This is Chef Shigeru, the master behind the meal. The sweetest memory I’ll have of this night was not only that it was spent with my husband and friends, but the whole restaurant and chef had sang happy birthday to me. What a surrpise! Rather than a mini cake, Chef Shigeru made this adorable miniature version of all the sushi and sashimi I ate that night and fit them into this small shell. It was brilliant (and so freaking cute.)  Thank youuuuu!

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On another special occasion, I hope to return one day again perhaps with my family. I see this restaurant being quite successful in the long run with their above-and-beyond service along with their fresh and generous amounts of food.  If you go, please share your experience with me!  As always, thanks for reading … xoxo

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