In Japanese, omakase translates roughly as “respectfully letting another choose for you,” and is generally used to describe a situation where the chef decides the courses that are served to a customer rather than the customer ordering off a menu. For us at Matsuhisa, this particular style of dining is special in more ways than one.
The first and most important element of omakase sushi is the expression of trust. It’s not simply saying, “I don’t care what you give me.” Instead, it tells the chef that the customer trusts his judgment about the current state of the fish available to him, what he knows about the customer’s tastes and what would be the best courses to have at that particular moment.
Strictly speaking, there isn’t an omakase menu. While a chef might have a general idea of what’s freshest and what will taste good together, there’s never a set list. Each omakase meal is an individualized experience, as much about the customer as it is the chef.
For customers the chef knows well, the menu might be a mixture of old favorites and new dishes that the chef believes will be enjoyed. For those the chef has only just met, it’s a chance for the chef to show off his talents and give new customers a unique look at the best the restaurant has to offer.
It might be tempting to just sit quietly and let the chef deliver different plates, but it shouldn’t be this way. If a customer is going to trust their chef, he or she will talk to him as he’s preparing, learning more about each dish as he makes it and letting him learn more about the people he’s preparing the dishes for. The more that the chef knows about his customers, the better he can prepare truly unique meals.
When the meal has reached its conclusion, a sincere and heartfelt “thank you” is always appreciated. It might not hurt to share a cup of sake together, a gesture far more effective than simply leaving a tip.
Undertaking an omakase meal isn’t for the faint of heart, but for those willing to place their trust in their chef it can be a meal that will never be duplicated or forgotten. Visit us at Matsuhisa and experience a delicious omakase dinner first hand. We know you’ll be glad you did!
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