In the world of fine dining, a tasting menu is an expected component that can often last for several hours. Tasting menus usually reflect a complete restaurant experience, showcasing all of the different ingredients and cooking techniques that the chef has to offer. Japan is no stranger to this concept, but the skills of a chef are instead highlighted through omakase. Literally translated as “I will leave it to you,” omakase is the demonstration of a chef’s skill and range that gives patrons a different and adventurous experience every time they dine.
Omakase is traditionally offered in sushi restaurants, but this idea has branched out to other establishments that offer multiple course menus. From izakayas to high-end sushi bars, omakase menus allow chefs to give their customers a wide range of seasonal dishes as well as offer something different from the standard menu items. An omakase meal usually starts with raw or light items like salads and sashimi, moving into heavier items, and ending with a rice dish. Not only does omakase showcase a chef’s skill set, it’s the best way to experience the highlights of a restaurant in an economic fashion.
Reserved for adventurous eaters, omakase is meant to provide diners with a full restaurant experience – from the classic specialties of the venue to new creations. Leaving the menu up to the chef allows for creative freedom inside of the kitchen. For example, RŌNIN’s omakase menu highlights the freshest ingredients from the market that day as well as signature items such as Unagi Chirashi and Flower Crab with Uni, Mitsuba, and Yuzu. Etiquette when ordering omakase includes alerting your server ahead of time of any food allergies as well as keeping an open mind to new dishes that you might not have ever had before. Although picky eaters aren’t advised to go with omakase, patrons are always rewarded for trusting the chef.