Restaurants & Bars 3

Omi - Valentine's Dinner

Ben Reiner | Feb 15, 2005 08:06 PM

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.

Course #5
Butterfish (cooked) with stuffing with a banana leaf wrapping.

Course #6
Soft shell crab maki reverse rolls, plus lightly blow torched scallops resting on a panko wafer, topped with roe.

Course #7
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.

Course #8
Farm-raised, wild salmon and white tuna sashimi on white miso foam with soy dipping sauce (presented in a plate shaped like a fish)

Course #9
Seasoned Sole

Course #10
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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