Recently, we dined at Nobu in Waikiki, Hawaii. Sitting at the gleaming sushi bar, I recognized only a handful of the slabs of fish chilling in the case, so we decide we would “trust the chef.”
In return for $60, we were presented with a long narrow board of nigiri, about 10 different pieces of fish and seafood artfully drapped over an oval mound of sushi rice. We had the usual salmon, yellowtail and big eye tunas, and halibut.
We also tasted squid, octopus, scallops, shrimp, king crab and a fish called “kiss.” That wasn’t the name, but it’s pronounced like kiss, and it tasted like a mackarel — strong. The last one was an eel, I think. All of it was fresh, clean, and remarkable.
We were going to order one omasake each, but our sushi chef thought that one would be plenty for both of us, especially considering that we had already tasted a couple other dishes. He was right, but what amazed me is that he thought we should start with one and see if that was enough, instead of strapping us with two (and an additional $60). Our server didn’t bat an eye when we ordered two. It was the chef that showed some restraint and guidance.
Perhaps omasake does mean “trust the chef.”