A new wave of restaurants are making omakase dining more accessible. 

By Oset Babur
Updated: March 13, 2019
Courtesy of Kai Zan

With Michelin-starred chefs at restaurants like Masa and Sushi Ginza Onodera creating lavish, marathon-esque omakases for between $400 and $600 a head, it’s no surprise that the traditional Japanese “chef’s choice” isn’t a preferred option for sushi lovers on a budget. However, a recent wave of restaurants offering affordable omakase options—ranging from just $24 for lunch to $60 for dinner—is making the experience more accessible to a wider range of diners who may be either time or money-constrained.

Below, find a few of the best omakase options from around the country that cost $60 or less. 

Sukoshi (Charlotte, North Carolina)

Andrew Cebulka

At newly-opened Sukoshi, diners can spend $30 for a five-course omakase that typically includes a nigiri, tartare, and a few rolls. The cozy sushi bar has just three seats that are typically first-come-first-serve, but guests can also reserve spots online. Managing partner Kimball Brienza says he took inspiration for the concept after visiting the casual and affordable traditional omakase tasting stalls in Japan during a recent trip.

Izakaya Minato (Portland, Maine)

Elaine Alden

“Omakase just means chef’s choice, it means letting the chef decide,” says chef Thomas Takashi Cooke of Izakaya Minato in Portland, Maine. “The trend is mostly for fancy places to do them, but that’s not what we do.” At Minato, Cooke and his team proudly serve a $30 omakase that includes sashimi, crudos, and their beloved Japanese fried chicken. “After spending $30, I want people to go home satisfied,” Cooke says.

Okina (San Francisco, CA)

At Okina, you won’t find elaborate sushi rolls––this menu is all about showcasing the best quality cuts of fish through simple sashimi and nigiri options. The $30 omakase is an incredible value for a city like San Francisco, but this tiny spot doesn’t take reservations and only accepts cash, so be sure to come prepared.

Sushi on Jones (New York City, NY)

Daniel Krieger

At Sushi on Jones, Uchu founder Derek Feldman gives New Yorkers the opportunity to try fine Japanese cuisine at a considerably lower price point. For $58, guests can enjoy twelve pieces of fish, including hamachi, arctic char salmon, and ikura. The thirty-minute limit is famously strict, so this is the perfect place to get a high-quality omakase experience during a busy workday.

Sushi Katsuei (New York City, NY)

After a successful first location in Park Slope, chef Aung Ko Win brought Sushi Katsuei to the West Village. In Manhattan, guests can enjoy nine pieces of nigiri and a hand roll for $60; at lunchtime, Win serves a six-piece omakase for $24. For those willing to journey across the river to the original location, the omakase costs $45 and includes the same amount of fish. Your move.

Kai Zan (Chicago, IL)

Courtesy of Kai Zan

Tucked away in Humboldt Park, Kai Zan looks unassuming from the outside, but is a perfect date night spot in terms of the minimalist, cozy decor and menu. For $60, twin brothers and owners Melvin and Carlo Vizconde deliver ten beautifully plated courses of sushi. Kai Zen is especially a hit with picky eaters because the chef takes personal preferences into account, a rarity among omakase experiences.

Sushi Spot (Los Angeles, LA)

Sushi Spot is a no-frills, family-owned business with a strong local following. For those in need of maximum control over their experience, the traditional omakase includes wagyu beef, bluefin tuna, and yellowtail belly. For the ultimate chef’s choice, guests can choose the adventurous omakase, which changes more frequently, and can include less common bites like orange clam, pike trout, and taregei.

Umi Sushi & Sake Bar (Miami, FL)

Located inside the Delano Hotel, Umi’s critical draw is the ambiance. Marble countertops, dim lighting, and beautiful floral arrangements are a reminder of its hotel restaurant status, but with two omakase options—one for $35 and the other for $55—it’s worth a stop here during a busy afternoon exploring the city.

Sakana Omakase Sushi (Philadelphia, PA)

At Sakana, the omakases are, unsurprisingly, the star of the show. The restaurant proudly bills itself as “the first affordable omakase restaurant in Philadelphia,” and chef Sam Lin always makes time to explain flavor combinations and coursing to curious guests at the sushi bar. Sakana features two options for $58––a signature omakase with twelve courses of nigiri, or a sashimi omakase with twn courses.

Double Knot (Philadelphia, PA)

Equal parts coffee shop, cocktail bar, and Japanese restaurant, the team behind Double Knot is making excellent use of their space in Center City. For $60, guests can enjoy one selection from each part of Double Knot’s menu, which includes sashimi and sushi, but shines with unexpected additions like tempura cheese curds and duck scrapple baos. Finish off with a selection from the extensive robatayaki (“fireside cooking” in Japanese) menu, and a dessert of mochi.

Advertisement