Sushi restaurants are always amongst the most popular restaurants in any major city and omakase establishments take that experience to the next level. In Japanese, omakase is a saying or a phrase that essentially just means "I trust you to choose" and is very similar to the Japanese work makaseru, or to entrust.
At omakase establishments, the patrons entrust the entirety of their meal in the hands of the chef. Omakase is most commonly found in Japanese sushi restaurants and is a very intimate experience between the guests and the chef. Instead of ordering sushi rolls or nigiri, the chef artfully creates their own rendition of the meal which normally highlights interesting dishes and seasonal specialties. The meal normally takes place between a large number of various dishes ranging from plates on the lighter side in the beginning and ending with the heaviest dishes.
In Chicago, most of the omakase restaurants can be hard to find for many new to the scene. Here are a few omakase establishments to try out first.
1. Hinoki Sushiko
Hinoki Sushiko is led by owner and chef Otto Phan and is actually chef Phan's second restaurant in Chicago. Hinoki Sushiko is an absolutely divine sushi two floor sushi restaurant but what is truly captivating is hidden on the second floor. On the top level of Hinoki Sushiko there is an interior with space for fourty individuals and set up to serve them a mind blowing fifteen course omakase meal with various fish sourced all the way from the fish markets across the sea in Japan. In addition to the omakase options, the first floor of Hinoki Sushiko houses an energetic izakaya restaurant with quite a wonderfully staged interior. Chef Phan is a legendary name in the world of Chicago sushi and Hinoki Sushiko is definitely not a place to miss out on.
Hinoki Sushiko can be found located at 1465 W Willow Street.
2. Omakase Yume
Omakase Yume is the stage where chef Sangtae Park performs and provides awe inspiring omakase eating experiences. Omakase Yume is a Michelin starred restaurant and for good reason. Chef Park is undeniably a master in the art of sushi and flaunts a superior knowledge of sushi. At Omakase Yume there is a seventeen course omakase menu that truly is the full experience from start to end. Make sure to create a reservation in advance for those interested in eating here as dining times are only available at either 5:30 or 7:30 in the evening. Each night, there is a hard cap and maximum of sixteen patrons to be served by chef Park's omakase experience.
Omakase Yume can be found located at 651 W Washington Blvd #101.
Chef Otto Phan has brought to life one of the most intimate and technical omakase experiences in all of Chicago. Chef Phan originally started out by building out restaurants in Texas but in the last few years has since closed down his previous restaurant there and moved to Chicago. Since then, chef Phan has built up Kyōten which has quickly surged in popularity despite the small size of the restaurant. Kyōten is a tiny eight seater but has a huge omakase experience often with twenty or more courses. No matter the night, each omakase experience consists of only the top fish sourced from the fish markets from places in Japan such as Tokyo or Fukuoka. The reservations for omakase are offered for either parties of two or four. For those that are unable to get a seating at the omakase counter, there are also a few other options currently such as take out bento boxes to go. Kyōten is definitely the priciest option on this list with a two person dinner coming out to be twelve hundred dollars.
Kyōten can be found located at 2507 W Armitage Ave.