A Night Of Unhurried Conversations With Family Over Omakase Dinner

Are you familiar with the term ‘omakase’? Whether you’re already acquainted with it or not, allow me to provide a concise definition of this fascinating word.

Omakase is a Japanese term that translates to ‘I’ll leave it up to you.’ In a dining context, it refers to a meal where the chef chooses the dishes for the customers, typically a tasting menu of sushi and other dishes. This allows the chef to showcase their skills and creativity, and provides the diner with a unique and personalized dining experience.

My Omakase Experience

I have been living in Japan for quite some time and have had the opportunity to experience fine dining at various Japanese restaurants. Despite this, I have yet to indulge in the revered omakase dining style. Until a couple days ago.

To celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday, the family made a reservation at a restaurant specializing in omakase-style dining. This marked milestone in my father-in-law’s life deserved a special celebration. However, the idea wasn’t centered around a large gathering, excessive drinking, or a noisy affair. Instead, a more intimate setting was chosen, where the refined ambiance, exquisite Japanese cuisine, and unhurried conversations with close family members could be enjoyed.

The Ambiance

As we approached the restaurant, we were immediately struck by its inviting ambiance. Despite being situated on the ground floor of a modern building, SUSHI HINOCA exuded a traditional Japanese charm. The entrance boasted a stone path adorned with elegant, upward-reaching greenery, illuminated by gentle, warm lighting. The restaurant’s name, artfully carved in Hiragana, welcomed us as we stepped inside the wooden entrance, setting the stage for an unforgettable dining experience.

The room where we dined was a traditional tatami room with a long table. Behind my father-in-law’s chair, there was a large round window with intricate details, casting warm, moon-like light into the room. The scent of wood lingered in the air, adding to the room’s charm. The washroom also reflected this attention to detail, being clean, comfortable, and evoking a sense of warmth and harmony.

The Food

And then came the highlight of the evening – the delectable spread. I was thoroughly impressed by the diverse array of flavors that graced our palates. In line with the very essence of the concept of Omakase, the chef’s expertise shone through in every distinct dish. It was a delightful journey of culinary innovation, one that left a lasting impression on all of us.

This is shirako.

This is shirako, also known as milt in English. While some may find the idea of soft roe unappealing, for those of us who enjoy exploring the exotic realm of gourmet cuisine, it is truly a delicacy. As someone who loves to savor unique culinary experiences, I can still vividly recall the sensation of its taste as it melted in my mouth, leaving me longing for more.

This is mehikari.

‘Mehikari’ is a Japanese word that refers to the ‘Japanese lanternfish’, a small, deep-sea fish found in the North Pacific Ocean.

The grilled skin had a satisfying crispiness, emitting a delightful sound with each bite, while the succulent, fatty meat provided a truly indulgent sensation on the palate.

The chef and his assistants took the time to describe each dish as they served them, although I won’t detail everything here to avoid overwhelming you. However, I must emphasize that each dish left a lasting impression. While the sushi set contained familiar elements, it undoubtedly stood out as the freshest I’ve ever tasted!

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