An omakase menu offers you the opportunity to be treated, spoiled, and dazzled by the chef, who selects dishes depending on what’s fresh and in stock that day. In the right hands, omakase dining is truly an adventure to remember, with twists and turns and unusual sensations. Your palate will be delighted, your mind expanded. Read on for our five favorite omakase restaurants in NYC. By Jessica Allen.
Ichimura at Brushstroke serves an extraordinary (and expensive) omakase, individually tailored to each diner. It also offers an additional frisson of excitement, found nestled inside Brushstroke — a kaiseki restaurant jointly run by David Bouley and the celebrated Tsuji Culinary Institute of Japan. The restaurant was a hidden gem in the city, only officially named after it was reviewed in the New York Times in 2012. Interestingly, the fish here is sometimes dry-aged, in contrast to the emphasis on fresh fish found at other restaurants on this list.
A lovely, tiny, golden space, Jewel Bako has earned a Michelin star for the past 11 years. Its chef, Shimao Ishikawa, has been preparing sushi for more than 40 years. In other words, you’re in good, experienced hands here. This romantic East Village restaurant offers four types of omakase: sushi, sashimi, both sushi and sashimi and a tasting menu (available at a table or at the sushi bar.) It earns a spot on this list for offering excellent quality for reasonable prices.
A meal at Shuko is as delectable as it is playful, as wonderful for the eyes as it is for the mouth. The owners did serious time at Masa, one of the city’s best Japanese restaurants, and they source really terrific ingredients — from such far-flung locales as Canada, California, and Japan, as well as from locations closer to its West Village address. Less traditional than some of the other spots on this list, Shuko wows for its creative but controlled take. Here’s where to go to have fun, rather than to worship at a sushi temple.
An oldie but a goodie. Helmed by Masatoshi “Gari” Sugio (who became a sushi chef at age 19), Sushi of Gari was one of the first Japanese restaurants in New York to push the envelope, ingredient-wise (see, for example, the restaurant’s tofu mayo or tempura-fried ice cream). The omakase menu gives you the chance to try not only whatever’s in season, but also a few Gari signature standouts (available with sushi, sashimi, or both). Sit at the bar and watch the masters at work.