I’ve always been a huge fan of Japanese food. Almost every major event I had growing up—be it graduation, a birthday or the like—was celebrated in a Japanese restaurant. I wasn’t too crazy about fusion cuisine though. I compare fusion cuisine to people who read a good book that’s turned into a movie then after watching the movie they say (always) that the book was better. But sometimes when you watch a movie, you just have to get in there and just watch and appreciate it for what it is. That’s how I learned to like fusion cuisine and one of my all-time favorites when it comes to Japanese fusion is Omakase.
When I found out that Omakase opened a new branch in Greenhills, I knew I had to eat there as soon as possible and one Sunday afternoon, I got my wish.
So we get there and the place is packed. It’s got two floors and a waiting line. It was Father’s Day, and naturally a lot of families went out for lunch. We were able to get seats by the bar and as soon as a waiter was available to attend to us, my sister and I started reciting our orders as if by heart. I knew what I was going to order a week before and naturally we started off with some miso soup and the uber-glorious salmon sashimi.
The Miso Soup (P45) did not disappoint. How could it? It’s miso soup. It’s a perfect and natural way to start off a Japanese meal. And besides, how can you start off eating Japanese and not have miso soup?
Although Salmon Sashimi (P220) counts as an appetizer (for me, at least) this was truly the star of the whole affair. The smooth, fatty texture of this wonderful raw fish seems almost like a gift from the gods. I often say to people that, given the chance, I’d go eat a whole salmon live like bears do. And I’m not even kidding. Okay, half kidding. I’d have to scale and gut the fish first. The two orders of 10 pieces each was gone really quick so we moved on to the next item.
We had Saba Nigiri (P125) next. Now saba sushi, we’ve always had this ever since I was a kid so it’s always been a favorite. Since we were sitting at the bar, we could see the chefs preparing the food as the orders came in. If you’re like me who can’t wait to have the next dish served, it’s a very strategic place to sit if you’d like to track which order is done or up next.
The Moyashi Itame (P90), another staple order of ours, came up next. What’s great about it is that, to me, it’s got something for everyone and it’s such a communal vegetable dish. You all dig in and get your portions or alternately, you can pick out the bits you like and leave a mountain of bean sprouts for the rest.
We also had Zaru Soba (P185) which is cold buckwheat noodles served with dipping sauce. I don’t know if this is for everyone, though. The Filipino palate is used to having noodles with something on them, with the noodles sort of playing the role of the canvas. With this, the noodles are it. The sauce just augments whatever latent flavor the noodles have. It’s quite good actually and it doesn’t feel heavy and if you’ve never tried it, I suggest you do. It’s quite the quite.
For the fusion part, we had Gyu-Chisu Maki (P150). It’s cheese wrapped in beef and then fried. They serve it with a dip made of Japanese mayonnaise and soy sauce with sesame seeds. I don’t think I have to tell you more than that. It’s crazy delicious but it’ll fill you up real quick so you have to be careful. I still had my main meal ahead of me so I had a couple of pieces then restrained myself from getting more. Barely.
My sister and dad shared a basket of Ebi Tempura (Ebi Fry - P175 for 3 pcs., P260 for 5 pcs., P405 for 8 pcs.). Now I found this out about a year ago and it turns out that tempura isn’t exactly a native Japanese dish. Apparently it was brought to Japan by the Portuguese and the Japanese loved it. So there, you learn something everyday. And knowing is half the battle ( -- G.I. Joe). Anyway, I’m allergic to shrimp but from how it looked like, I can surmise that it tasted really good. If I wasn’t allergic to shrimp, I’d have had some of that but I am and I don’t want to die just yet.
Huzzah! This is what I was waiting for. Unagi and rice in a bento. The texture and flavor of grilled eel is something else. Just writing about Unaju (P325) makes me want to go have some right now. Whenever I have this I have to do the Filipino thing and ask for a fork and spoon so I can attack the food better. Yes. Attack. Now I’m hungry.
After all that, we got the bill and we spent around under P2,000. Not bad if you think about it since we ordered a lot. The food is excellent and if you’re like me and have that usual thing you order, you’ll want to come back again and again and it’ll start feeling like a place you go to for comfort food. So until the next time I get to eat at Omakase again, I’ll go fix myself a sandwich for the meantime.