Last night I had the pleasure of having an omakase dinner at Mori, my first ever omakase experience. I've been wanting to try omakase ever since I read an article in the LA Times back in 2005 detailing the ritual, and after a long wait the day of reckoning arrived. The experience was truly remarkable.
I'll be very honest, I know next to nothing about fish, knife skills, and all those finer points that people argue over. There were some very unique and interesting flavors that I’ve never experienced before. What made the meal memorable for me, however, was not so much the food, which was delicious, but the experience of conversing with the itamae Yoshi-san. Over the course of two and a half hours we had an engaging discussion on a wide range of topics; everything from the fish, the seasons, his techniques, the ceramics, restaurants in LA, Japanese food in Japan, on and on.
I felt like I finally found a restaurant that has a soul and a point of view, not just another tasty yet generically competent concept from a trendy dining group that gets the food world buzzing with good PR and bacon. The ability of looking the person who is preparing your food in the eye as they discuss each dish or fish created a connection that transcends the mere sense of taste.
If I had the economic means I’d try to eat there every month, but alas my budget is smaller than my appetite. Nevertheless, the experience was very memorable and I’d encourage omakase fence sitters to give it a whirl.