In American English, the expression is used at sushi restaurants to leave the selection to the chef. It differs from ordering à la carte. The chef will generally present a series of plates, beginning with the lightest fare and proceeding to heaviest, richest dishes. The phrase is not exclusive to service of raw fish with rice, and can incorporate grilling, simmering, or other cooking techniques as well. The term Omakase is not restricted to flesh, nor to sequential degustation banquets. It can be used generally to mean any selection of dishes prepared at the chef's discretion comprising a meal, including strict vegan.
Customers ordering omakase style expect the chef to be innovative and surprising in the selection of dishes, and the meal can be likened to an artistic performance by the chef. Ordering omakase can be a gamble; however, the customer typically receives the highest-quality fish in stock at a less expensive cost than if it had been ordered à la carte.
From the restaurant's perspective, a large number of customers ordering omakase can help in planning for food costs.
- Corson, Trevor (2007). The Zen of Fish. New York: HarperCollins. pp. 318–319. ISBN 978-0-06-088350-8.
- Corson, p. 77.
- Corson, pp. 98, 113.
- As an example, before closing its shopfront the well-known Sydney restaurant "Wafu".offered a vegan omakase on Monday evenings.
- Corson, pp. 102, 288.
- Issenberg, Sasha (2007). The Sushi Economy: Globalization and the Making of a Modern Delicacy. New York: Gotham Books. p. 121. ISBN 978-1-59240-294-6.