If you love sushi, and that means you know not to drown it in soy sauce, you know each mouthful is meant to be savored.
It is about appreciating the simplicity and beauty of the simple ingredients: a slice of raw (or at most slightly torched) fish atop a pillow of barely warm sticky rice. It is the epitome of quality over quantity.
Omakase is a Japanese phrase, used when ordering sushi in restaurants, that means “I'll leave it up to you.” It is derived from the Japanese word meaning to entrust someone. At an omakase meal, the sushi chef makes the decision of what to prepare, although many ask your preferences beforehand.
For example, at our recent visit to the new Sushi by Bou Beach Club location in Pompano Beach, we told the chef that my husband doesn’t eat meat, so for the surf and turf special, his beef was replaced with tuna.
Most times an omakase meal consists of multiple pieces of individual sushi, so don’t expect rainbow and dragon rolls. It is about appreciating and savoring each portion served. Eating at a slower pace and savoring each bit is very Zen and I can guarantee, you won’t go home hungry.
There are many places in the area offering omakase as a dining option. The newest is Sushi by Bou Beach Club, which just opened in the Residences Inn by Marriott in Pompano Beach, just a few blocks up from Stonewall Beach. Sushi by Bou Beach Club brings a high-end omakase experience to the people in a breezy outdoor environment. The timed omakase (60 minutes) is served at an eight-seat counter where the sushi chef serves you directly, guiding you through the meal, and providing a truly exclusive experience, all while you glance out at the beautiful ocean. That is, if you can take your eyes off the handsome chef. In addition to the Pompano Beach location, there is another Sushi by Bou located in the iconic Versace Mansion in Miami.
On the day of our visit, we enjoyed more than a dozen courses (one piece of sushi for each course). Some kissed with a bit of flame from a blowtorch, but most served in the delicious, natural state, augmented by micro-herbs, flavored oils, citrus juice or other fresh seafood.
Most meals start with hamachi (yellowtail) simply served draped atop a mound of sushi rice. From that, you may move on to chu-toro (medium fatty tuna), and botan ebi (spotted prawn, the one dish I prefer cooked to raw). Lovely marinated ikura (salmon roe) followed as did bincho (albacore). The raw hotate (sea scallop) allowed us to appreciate the buttery texture of the bivalve.
Another delight for the palate in both taste and texture was the generous portion of uni (sea urchin) in the following course. O-Toro (fatty tuna), sake (salmon), Wagyuni (surf and turf, seared Wagyu beef topped with tuna) and to cap off everything, unagi (BBQ eel). The cost for such a repast starts at $50 a person, according to Frank Bruno of Sushi by Bou, but can go up from there, depending on add-ons.
Cocktail options are plentiful and exotic, although $14 for a glass that’s mostly ice and about four swigs of drink, is a bit much. Still, the Yuzu Honey Bee which combines Maker’s Mark bourbon with honey and yuzu juice balances a sweet-sour tang with a bit of bite from pink peppercorns. The Kyushu Cove, which they were kind enough to make virgin style (it usually features Cruzan rum) for my husband, was refreshing with hibiscus syrup and tea, juxtaposed against tangy lime juice and seltzer for fizz.
Sushi By Bou
1350 N. Ocean Blvd., Pompano Beach
If you want to sample an omakase meal and have trouble getting a reservation at Sushi by Bou, here are some other options.
Seminole Hard Rock Casino, Hollywood
Offers Omakase at three price levels: $50, $75, $100
551 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.
Omakase ranges from $75 to $150
5640 N. Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale
At Kaizen, the chef’s choice is $90 per person, $180 a couple, or $250 for a three-way.
1200 East Las Olas STE 101, Fort Lauderdale
The 60-minute tasting menu is $100 per person