Diners with a hearty appetite (and budget) can reserve a seat on Thursday and Friday evenings (6 pm to 8:30 pm) at Nobu for $225 per person and brace themselves for a 17-course sushi-tasting menu. (Courtesy of Nobu)
Created by chefs Joe Murphey and Eiji, with just four guests at each seating, you might taste their signature yellowtail jalapeno dish, charcoal grilled otoro, and creamy baked crab and masago at this exclusive tasting which can be paired with a flight of champagne and sake for an additional $70 per person. Photo courtesy of Nobu.
A5 wagyu with a date and balsamic reduction and wasabi salt is the seventh course at Hando's omakase at The Kanpai Club. Photo by Michael Ma.
Chef Man ends his 9-course omakase at Kanpai Club Saturdays at lunch with dessert. In this case, a kabocha squash that is brûlée with black sesame ice cream and a sesame caramel sauce.
If you’re a fan of sushi, you’ve no doubt picked up on the recent trend of omakase dining spotted in Japanese-style restaurants all over Houston. For the uninitiated, omakase translates in Japanese for “I’ll leave it up to you.” In other words, the diner — commonly seated at a sushi bar — puts themselves in the chef’s hands, allowing them to select and serve their seasonal best in a tasting menu. It’s usually done in a multi-course fashion beginning with the lightest of bites and ending with the richest.
For the most curious among us, it’s a fantastic way to watch, learn and have the opportunity to speak with the sushi chef as they prepare each and every piece in front of your very eyes. Most sushi bars in Houston that offer an omakase experience have pre-determined the menu and price. If the idea intrigues you (or you are one the legions of fans that pop from one omakase to another), you can find an omakase in Houston that fits your schedule and your budget.
Here are the Best Omakase Sushi Restaurants in Houston:
Diners with a hearty appetite (and budget) can reserve a seat on Thursday and Friday evenings (for 6 pm to 8:30 pm) at Nobu Houston for $225 per person and get ready for a 17-course sushi tasting menu created by chefs Joe Murphey and Eiji. With just four guests at each seating, you might taste Nobu’s signature yellowtail jalapeno dish, charcoal grilled otoro and creamy baked crab and masago at these exclusive tastings.
Nobu’s omakase also can be paired with a flight of champagne and sake for an additional $70 per person.
Not too far from Nobu, you’ll find Hidden Omakase. Hidden behind what appears to be a comic book storefront you’ll discover an 18-seat sushi bar with two seatings nightly. Hidden Omakase serves an extensive omakase menu exclusively. Priced at $175 per person, reservations are quite a hot commodity.
Sushi by Hidden
If you love the elaborate Japanese-tasting experience but have precious little time to enjoy it reserve a seat at Hidden Omakase’s sister restaurant Sushi by Hidden in Rice Village. Here, you’ll get 12 diminutive bites in 30 minutes flat ($60 per person). You can set your watch by it too.
With just 10 seats available in Sushi by Hidden’s 1,200-square-foot space, they have seats to turn. So chop, chop, there’s no dilly-dallying around.
The Austin export Uchi serves an omakase daily during happy hour from 4 pm to 6 pm ($75 per person), while next door Tyson Cole’s still newish Oheya restaurant offers a 15-course array of dishes focusing on specialty ingredients and culinary techniques. For $175 per person (plus $75 optional beverage selections), diners can indulge in multiple courses of nigiri as well as dishes highlighting vegetables and proteins at the peak of their seasons.
Last, but certainly not least, is the Saturday lunchtime omakase served at Hando’s speakeasy poised next door to the restaurant dubbed Kanpai Club. Known for serving handrolls at Hando exclusively, owners Jason Andaya and Raymond Chan (who also own the nearby Vietnamese-inspired Dinette and Dinette Bakery) open the Kanpai Club for omakase seatings at 11:30 am and 1:30 pm on two Saturdays each month.
Reserve one of 12 seats and the affable Chef Man will take you through his nine course menu which, this season, highlights the element of fruit in each and every course. Priced at $88 (plus $45 for the three-course cocktail pairing), you’ll find alluring bites like raw kanpachi layered with paper-thin slices of smoked peaches with aguachile and cilantro oil and topped with fresh lemon zest accompanied by a delicate smoke bubble you are instructed to pop to release the cherrywood smoke and infuse the dish.
The seventh course dish turned out to be the richest of all with a generous serving of A5 Wagyu sliced and served with a date and balsamic reduction and fine dusting of wasabi salt. Swirl the three together and you have one unami-packed bite.
When the Kanpai Club omakase menu changes in December expect an experience that rides on the theme of comfort food, perfect for a cold winter weekend lunch escape.