Often an intimate dinner shared with only a small group of people, omakase can be both expensive and exclusive, offering highly-curated dinners by some of the worlds most revered sushi chefs. That is certainly the case in the Magic City, where sushi-lovers often pay top dollar to nab a seat at places like Naoe, Makoto, Hiden, and Hiyakawa.
While these establishments remain among the city's best, they aren't the only omakase worth considering. Over the last few years, a number of places have taken a different approach to the traditional Japanese format, offering omakase options that give you a little more bang for your buck in more ways than one.
For that reason, it's refreshing to find several South Florida establishments that fill you up without emptying your wallet, cater to vegetarian palates, deliver to your house, or even put on a show.
Here are five omakase dinners that make leaving dinner in the hands of a stranger totally worth it:
Mr. Oma Kase163 SE First St., Miami
Mr. Oma Kase creators Andrew Mayer and Ryan Leto partnered together to offer Miami a quality — but also affordable — omakase option. Three different menus make it easy to decide just how far you're willing to go — and spend. At the eight-seat sushi counter, executive chef Ryo Kato, formerly of 1-800-Lucky's Myumi, offers guests their choice of entry-level or experienced meals. It starts with the $69 per person option for 10 courses, and continues with a 14-course meal for $89 per person. If you're ready for more, a generous 18-course experience is priced at $119 per person, which features premium sushi like chūtoro, Japanese uni, and A5 Wagyu. Reservations are required, and payment is taken in advance. Open Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday from 5:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to midnight.
Nossa Omakase1600 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
Yes, Nossa Omakase is pricey — but this omakase experience is also designed to be a dinner show. Creators Sebastian Labno and Astrid Ramirez traveled all over the world for sushi, and felt Miami was ready for something bigger and better that your traditional omakase. In that sense, Nossa offers a show-style setting for a theatrical thrill. In Portuguese, Nossa translates to "wow" and Nossa delivers. It begins with a complimentary cocktail or sake in anticipation of the main attraction. Diners are then escorted through a dimly-lit corridor that opens to a theater-like den where a posh circular bar seats 14 guests. Helmed by executive chef Max Kamakura, guests are taken on a multi-course journey that includes dishes such as smoking lobster sashimi, uni with black truffle on crispy rice, A5 Wagyu nigiri, chūtoro nigiri topped with caviar, and otoro uni truffle temaki. Expect a front row seat to the action as garnishes are finished before your eyes including lavish accompaniments from a shower of edible gold and fresh-shaved truffles to smoking dishes to flaming cuts of fish. $250 per person for the16- to 18-course omakase. Open Wednesday through Saturday from 7 p.m. to midnight.
Omakai2107 NW Second Ave., Miami
Omakai was founded by three friends who lamented Miami's dearth of reasonably priced sushi. For an affordable omakase experience, several multi-course options range from $24 to $48 per person, each beginning with a seasonal-themed appetizer and sashimi followed by an assortment of sushi and hand rolls. Omakai is mostly table service, so you likely won't have a seat at the sushi counter or be face-to-face with the chef, but you can take these experiences home with takeout and delivery options. Go all out with the $74 "Omakai Experience", a 10-course meal that works best when paired with one of the restaurant's four seasonal sake flights. Open Sunday through Thursday from 12:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Sushi By Bou1350 N. Ocean Blvd., Pompano Beach
Travel north to Pompano Beach and you'll be rewarded with a relaxing, beachfront omakase at Sushi by Bou. The new beach club-themed spot has an eight-seat omakase counter that features this New York City-based brand's traditional $50 chef's selection. Over the course of an hour, diners will receive a dozen pieces of fresh nigiri sushi ranging from Bluefin tuna, marinated ikura, and uni to fatty tuna and Hokkaido scallop topped with charcoal salt. If you're feeling a little more adventurous, upgrade to the $100 "Bou-gie experience", a total of 17 pieces of nigiri sushi highlighting specialty fish flown in from all over the world, many straight from Japan. Sushi by Bou also offers a selection of sleek, signature handmade cocktails, imported sakes, and Japanese whiskies to accompany the feast. There's even a number of frozen or fishbowl-style drinks to enjoy by the waterfront post-lunch or dinner. Omakase reservations are limited to 10 seats per hour. Though walk-ins are welcome, reservations at the omakase counter are encouraged due to limited seating. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Uchi252 NW 25th St., Miami
Who said omakase is only for seafood lovers? At Uchi Miami, even vegans can get in on the multi-course meal action. Here, chef/founder Tyson Cole's focus is to create the "perfect bite" with every dish while expanding the intimate and personal experience of omakase dining from the sushi bar to every seat in the house. His sleek palace of sushi offers a startling array of sashimi, agemono (tempura), and yakimono (grilled items), but diners feeling adventurous can opt for one of three different omakase options (available at market price) that include a six- and ten-course chef's tasting menu, or the option of a 6-course fish-free omakase tailored especially for vegans and vegetarians. Open daily from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.