Omakase has long been one of my favorite Japanese restaurants – something that has its origins in the nearly four years I spent working in Quezon City when special occasions were celebrated over unaju (sweet grilled eel – unagi – over rice) & cups of sencha.
Quite recently, for my dad’s birthday, we all trooped down to Molito, a small cluster of restaurants in Alabang, thinking we could score a table at Gram’s Diner. However, just imagine our dismay when we found the diner gone & a real estate consultancy was in its place! We were very disappointed, of course, Gram’s being one of the family’s favorite restaurants. But there was no help for it, so it was rather fortunate that there was an Omakase branch just across the street.
Along with the usual things – o-bento, katsudon, gyūdon, & tempura, we decided to order a selection of makimono (sushi rolls) to start the meal. Omakase offers platters of maki, each featuring three kinds of rolls. The one we ordered was the SAR Platter, as shown above.
SAR, in this case, is an acronym that stands for Salmon skin, American rolls, & Rockin’ rolls. (Yes, pun actually intended.) These are all uramaki, or inside-out rolls, where the rice is on the outside & the nori is within along with the filling.
The salmon skin rolls (upper right) were delicious little morsels stuffed with crunchy fried salmon skin. The smoky, rather umami taste of the fish skin was balanced by the fresh zing of fresh parsley in which the maki was rolled in prior to slicing.
The rockin’ rolls (left), on the other hand, come with a caveat: they may look mild, but these bite-sized rolls pack a serious punch! These are filled with raw tuna, dabs of wasabi, and a generous dash of shichimi togarashi – the fragrant but fiery Oriental seasoning laced with red pepper. These are pretty good – sinus-clearingly so, if I may add – & are for people who love a heaping dose of heat in their food. If you love the tempura tuna tartare over at Teriyaki Boy or the equally incendiary The Bomb at Smairu, you’ll be a fan of these rolls. I daresay one ought to go easy on the wasabi with ’em, though…
The American rolls (lower right) will remind diners of the unbeatable combination that is lox & cream cheese as these tempura-fried rolls are filled with flash-cooked salmon & silky cream cheese. They’re a little on the rich side, so feel free to temper the richness with a hint of soy, but I daresay you could ask for some lemon or kalamansi lime to drizzle over.
I am of the opinion, that the SAR Platter on its own would already make a nifty meal for four. Just throw in some miso soup, a kani salad, & some tsukemono (pickles), & you’ll be good to go. Grab refillable glasses of Omakase’s fruity iced teas, & you have a lovely meal for a warm summer evening.