Do you know the meaning of the Japanese word omakase spoken in restaurants Sushi? In this article, we will study in depth the history of this beautiful word and its participation in Japanese culture.
The word omakase [お任せ] literally means “I leave it to your care” and it is a vote of confidence between the customer and the chef who is responsible for choosing all the recipes prepared.
Let's say you regularly go to a local restaurant, the chef knows you and knows what you like. One day you enter the place and say: “surprise-me!” because you trust him.– – –
The meaning of the word Omakase
The word omakase comes from the verb makaseru [任せる] which means to trust. By saying that word you are entrusting your meal to the chef. The ideogram [任] conveys the idea of responsibility, burden, duty, deadline, trust and task;
Saying Omakase is like saying: Surprise me!
Omakase is believed to have origins from Kaiseki, which consists of meals prepared in an order and served one at a time with high-class dishes. Simply put, it's basically a tasting menu.
A very popular and similar word is assume [お勧め] which literally means recommendation, or suggestion of the house. You can ask the waiter what he recommends from the menu by saying osusume. Meanwhile, Omakase is a deeper word that leaves full responsibility in the hands of the restaurant's chef.
Be careful not to confuse with omatase, which is a word also heard in restaurants, but it means sorry for keeping you waiting. often heard as omataseshimashita [お待たせしました].
This word can be used in any restaurant, it doesn't necessarily have to be a sushi restaurant. You can also use this word to leave your meal in the care of a friend and not necessarily the on-site chef.
How to order an Omakase
Some restaurants offer the option of omakase [お任せ] with some variations in the amount of food. If you choose this option, you cannot make any changes, but they will ask what you can and cannot eat.
This doesn't work in fast-food restaurants or famous franchises. It is more common to order an omakase at traditional restaurants where you meet the chef or cook. You can say: Omakase shimasu [お任せします].
Usually the cook will choose the seasonal ingredients and prepare the dishes he thinks are the best. It may not be your taste if the chef is unaware of your personal tastes.
sometimes the omakase involves extensive conversation with the chef, in which case you can expect a meal fully adapted to your taste. It can take a few hours, and sometimes it can be cheaper than the menu price.
For a better dining experience, choose a seat at the counter near the chef to watch your meal being prepared. Be prepared to eat things you are not used to, you may have a natto in your meal.
It may be necessary to make a reservation at the restaurant. We recommend not using perfumes to smell and taste the fish, and don't ask too many questions or bother the chef. You can request a miso soup after meal.
Where to find restaurants with Omakase
In Japan you can find restaurants that make Omakase for prices ranging from 50$ to 150$. In Brazil there are also several places and sushi restaurants that offer this tasting option.
If you Google Omakase you will come across thousands of articles written by sushi restaurants. Most of the big sushi restaurants, especially in São Paulo, offer [お任せ] plans.
Some popular places are Pub Kei, Kan Suke, By Koji, Jun Sakamoto, Hamatyo, Shin-zushi, Aizome, Aya Japanese Cuisine, Jiro, and Kinoshita.
If you're looking for a good Omakase, don't go to cheap restaurants or those on the mat. The art of Japan's tasting menu needs to be appreciated at a counter with a view of the chef slicing fish or grilling your food.
Differences between Omakase and Kaiseki
The kaiseki Meticulously prepared and beautifully presented, it is considered one of the most expensive meals in Japan. In the past kaiseki it was a simple feast served to the monks at the tea ceremony, but it turned out to be a sophisticated feast.
Although we mention that Omakase originated from kaiseki, both are totally different things. While with a tasting menu, you entrust your meal to the chef, with kaiseki you have a super traditional formal dinner.
Omakase is a universal and not exclusive verb for meals, while kaiseki is a type of meal focused on local and seasonal foods with a unique way of preparing and serving customers.
[お任せ] allows you to taste almost anything the Chef wants, without worrying about ordering whole portions of certain dishes or menu.
Did you know Omakase? Have you ever had the opportunity to taste a meal made especially for you by the chef? What is your experience? If you liked the article, share it and leave your comments!