I made a reservation for Omi for this Valentine's - roughly a year and a half after my previous visit. The experience remained etched in my conscience as I had had an extraordinary meal there and I was very much looking forward to making a retun visit. What better way to celebrate a Valentine's with Mandy Lin than enjoying a first-rate omakase dining extravaganza.
We started with a nice miso soup and a flask of warm sake. Both items proved to be the perfect tonic for a damp, chilly day.
After a short wait we were presented with the first dish of the evening, surf clam julienned with red peppers and lettuce in a delicious miso paste, served in a shot glass. The next item consisted of a piece of cooked salmon on the bottom, and a cold shrimp on top, sandwiching lily bulb (for the uninitiated, this is in fact derived from the flower of the same name, starchy in character with an onion-like texture and a very subtle yet pleasant taste).
Our next dish was oyster three ways: three raw oyster varietals of the highest quality were presented with their own mignonette, including a garlic chili saurce for one and a soy w/ green onion sauce for another.
While we were eating we were enjoying the atmosphere - it's a completely relaxed vibe, with the chef John Lee, playing tracks ranging from vocal jazz to some classic 80s ballads and thankfully only half of a Celine Dion tune as the chef insisted on some requisite Valentine's cheese.
Back to the food; I've listed courses 5-10 below. I'll spare anymore commentary because my analysis was reduced to "Mmmm.. this is really, really yummy" early on in the evening.
Butterfish (cooked) with stuffing with a banana leaf wrapping.
Soft shell crab maki reverse rolls, plus lightly blow torched scallops resting on a panko wafer, topped with roe.
White tuna, dark tuna, and butterfish sushi. Tail end of the butterfish encrusted with black and white sesame seeds, the tuna drizzled with sesame oil.
Farm-raised, wild salmon and white tuna sashimi on white miso foam with soy dipping sauce (presented in a plate shaped like a fish)
Eel tempura sushi
Suffice it to say that the ingredients were incredibly fresh, the preparation was outstanding and I can't recommend the place enough. For dessert, an Italian friend of the chef's was brought in, and he prepared some delicious profiterole-like (but larger) pastries with a cherry sauce.
Before tip, the omakase for 2, with one flask of sake two Asahi beers and green tea, came to around $180.
451 Church, at Alexander
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