Omakase translates to “entrust” which means a Japanese multi-course meal that the chef of the day selects and serves for guests. It is served in order, from appetizers to desserts. Sushi is the main dish, however, Omakase also includes a variety of dishes such as udon, soup, and grilled fish. It usually runs with a small number of guests by appointment only.
There is an Omakase near CBNU back gate, Hoo-U. According to Hoo-U, most of the customers who opt for Omakase are in their 40-50s, but many people in their 20s and 30s visit to celebrate special days such as anniversaries. Most of the guests like the quiet atmosphere of Omakase which operates on a reservation system. The high quality of food compared to the price is one of the main reasons for visiting Omakase. Hoo-U uses fresh fish which is brought from the fish market every morning through the express terminal. Therefore, it offers a very high freshness compared to other restaurants. Also, dishes that can only be tasted in Omakase are a big attraction, and many of the patrons visit there with the sole purpose of posting reviews on their social media.
When first entering the restaurant, a CBT reporter was guided to a reserved seat and given a fresh warm towel to wipe hands. The interior was entirely cozy and the wallpaper brought up the image of Japanese traditional houses. The wooden interior gave a simple but neat feeling and it created the perfect backdrop to enjoy Japanese food.
In the center, there was a small kitchen where visitors could watch the chef cooking. The chef was friendly enough to explain the process, and the food, to the guests and talked with them while he was cooking. Therefore, he could garner the customer’s preferences and offer them dishes that they favor. It certainly was a unique experience, and customers could not help but feel satisfaction.
Hoo-U only seats 8 people, so people can enjoy their meal in a spacious and comfortable setting. The day’s menu is determined by the fish that arrived that day and consists of approximately 10 to 13 courses, from appetizers to desserts. First of all, Japanese steamed egg custard was served as the first appetizer. After coming in from the cold, and stepping into a warm restaurant, the first dish was a warm steamed egg, which could make people feel better and their appetite would start to improve.
Next, seafood and fish dishes began to appear one by one. Grilled abalone, several pieces of sushi, futomaki, grilled fish, stew, udon, and tempura were served in order, and green tea ice cream was offered for dessert to complete the meal. There were many different types of sushi that day, and this CBT reporter was able to taste nine pieces of sushi and two pieces of futomaki.
In particular, most of the fish in the sushi was very fresh and delicious because it was purchased directly from the fish market on the same day. The sushi had as many different textures as there were different types. From soft fish to chewy fish, it felt like different dishes were constantly being served. Grilled abalone, futomaki, and fried food were excellent in flavor, sourness, and crispiness, and there was no fishy smell unique to seafood in any of the dishes. The green tea ice cream that came as dessert could cleanse people’s mouths, and the unique bitter taste of green tea finished the meal well without leaving any lingering taste of the food that was served before.
Hoo-U is only open for dinner, with two dinner slots available at 6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Also, it is closed every Wednesday.
Omakase is not only a simple Japanese dish, but the trend is also spreading to desserts such as coffee and tea. Recently, Timakase has been on offer where people can taste a variety of coffee courses made from high-quality coffee beans, such as Kermakase and Timakase, or taste tea brewed with rare, high-quality tea ingredients. It is so popular, in fact, that even Omakase for puppies is now an option.
Sometimes, on special days, if someone wants to have a special meal with friends or a complete meal just for themselves, experiencing Omakase can be a good choice.
By Choi Yun-ji