Omakase, Please

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(Click for bigger, mouth-watering, image.)

… means you will let the chef decide.

In a good place, this promises a fabulous dinner and, almost always, a significant learning experience.

In a bad place, … well, hopefully you will reserve the commitment only for special places.

Sushi Style is one such place. You can confidently expect a truly phenomenal meal!

My granddaughter and I did that for lunch a few days ago.

At the beginning of the meal, we spoke briefly with the sushi chef and told him what we liked and didn’t like. Based on that, his first dish kept us in familiar territory. The second was a bit more varied but still mostly familiar.

Each time, he would continue working but I could see him occasionally glance over the bar to see how we responded to his work.

By the time we had finished two of his custom creations, he felt we were ready for a little adventure!

As you may be able to tell from the picture, his third dish was tasteful in both senses of the word. It consisted of lightly steamed (cool) asparagus wrapped in whitefish sushi with a piece of Uni (gonads of the Sea Urchin). Finely diced (real) Wasabi and Salmon Roe were added to the top for visual as well as taste variety.

It was sublime!

Uni, if you haven’t had it, has the texture of a milk shake and tastes a bit like sea water with a faint hint of sweetness. Depending on where the Sea Urchin lived, it can also have very faint bitterness but that just means you are sampling something less than perfect. The best Uni won’t have any of that. (If it’s fishy, send it back. Something’s wrong!)

This Uni was … perfect.

By the way, the dish slightly out of focus in the background is a generous serving of Wasabi.

Note this is not the powdered or reconstituted stuff you get almost everywhere in the world, much of which is actually horse radish with green food coloring.

No, this is the real McCoy, finely chopped and served in a light oil. It has about the same degree of spicy taste as the powdered stuff but includes a taste, an aroma perhaps, that I’ll just describe as “green” — you know you’re eating a plant. That flavor is unique to the real stuff.

If you are not a regular, you may have to ask, “May I have some real Wasabi, please?” Indeed, it was only after we’d been there a couple of times sitting at the bar with the same chef did he even volunteer that it was available. Now, I always request it if the server is new to us.

By the way, at the end of the meal, whatever Wasabi is left goes home with the other leftovers where, for example, it later gets added to a small amount of mayonnaise for some dish, or mixed in with store bought Tartar Sauce for extra pizazz with fish.

Because the restaurant is close to where we live, and because it is so exceptional — their Tonkotsu (pork) Ramen (noodle) bowl is one of my favorite lunch items and the 4-7 PM “Happy Hour” six days a week with inexpensive sushi which can then be a remarkably inexpensive early dinner — we think of it as our “neighborhood” sushi bar.

Many of you know I am a world traveler. I’ve been to Japan many times and have been treated to some of the best that country has to offer.

Sushi Style is right up there lacking only the variety that comes with being closer to the early morning fish market in Tokyo. Short of that, everything they serve is “Tokyo quality”!

You’ll find us there several times a month.

Kampai!

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