10 Essential OC Sushi Joints To Say "Omakase"

Sashimi as art at Noguchi.EXPAND
Sashimi as art at Noguchi.
Edwin Goei

"Omakase" is what you say to a sushi chef when you trust him to give you the best and freshest. It isn't exclusive of sushi or sashimi either (cooked foods are fair game)—it just means, "Give me great things to eat, I'll worry about the money later".

Here are ten of the best places for saying "omakase" in Orange County. 

10. Bluefin

Bluefin's sashimi salad.EXPAND
Bluefin's sashimi salad.
Edwin Goei

The most expensive omakase at Bluefin is a meal set in about six courses, most of it cooked dishes. There'll be an amuse bouche, in which some items might be flecked with gold leaf or fresh caviar. Next, slices of sashimi that chef Takashi Abe turns into a brisk salad course. This is followed by two immaculately cooked courses of seasonal ingredients. Expect these dishes to feature anything from a stuffed quail with foie gras to a whole deep-fried mackerel stuffed with pumpkin—maybe even some Kobe beef medallions if you're lucky. A sushi course comes near the end, and it's actually anticlimactic after the excellent food you had prior. Finally, there's dessert, which is most often a slice of chocolate cake and ice cream.

Cost: Omakase lunch, $45 per person; Omakase dinner, $170 per person with cooked courses; $70 per person for just sushi only.

9. Maki Zushi

The Maki crew.
The Maki crew.
Edwin Goei

Maki Zushi wins accolades from just about everyone across the board. This place, which has a patio, can delight the most hardcore sushi enthusiast or tepid novice. For the noob, Maki offers multiple teriyaki dishes, steaks, curry chicken and charbroiled sea bass in a citrus-butter sauce. For the sushi snob, the chefs lobs serious stuff for his omakase: uni cracked fresh from its live, writhing spiky shell; fish so sparkling it seems to still have the glint of ocean water.

Cost: Omakase starts at $50-$75 per person for about 15-20 pieces of sushi with soup.

8. Ikko

Ikko's sushi.
Ikko's sushi.
Jonathan Ho

Ikko Kobayashi has been called a sushi magician, but the man is really a mad scientist, grafting disparate ingredients like black truffles and uni together into creations that come alive in your mouth. As with all venerable sushi joints, whatever you do, do not ask for soy sauce or wasabi unless Kobayashi offers it.

Cost: Omakase starts at $60 to $100 per person.

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