Omakase is the Japanese tradition of letting a chef choose your order. The word means “I will leave it to you.” It’s a fine tradition that gives the chef creative freedom and the customer a memorable dining experience.
Any good chef is a creative individual. Creativity isn’t always good business. Customers want to see the old predicable favorites on the menu.
Omakase lets the chef flex their culinary talents. It’s generally considered a friendly gesture that may earn you excellent service.
There are a few things to keep in mind when ordering omakase:
Omakase works best at restaurants with daily fresh ingredients such as sushiya. Any restaurant that offers fresh fish or in season vegetables are likely to be a good omakase bet.
Small restaurants with counter seats and a viewable kitchen are best. The culture of omakase evolved at these small intimate restaurants.
Omakase involves greater social interaction with the chef. If you’re able to spit out an obscure Japanese word like omakase it will be expect that you have more words in your inventory.
Omakase typically earns you more attention from the chef. For example, the chef may explain each dish to you.
At the end of the meal the restaurant will present you with a non-itemized bill. This is nothing more than a small stub of paper with a price. In many cases, your drinks will also not be itemized.