If the term omakase isn’t already in your vocabulary, it certainly should be. Chef Dominique Lester at Oshi Poke Bowl and Sushi explains the word, while unfamiliar to many, simply means “Chef’s choice”. Never know what to order when you go for sushi? This is the treatment you desire. Sure, you can order from the menu with the familiar sushi rolls. If a more authentic experience is what you are craving, then allow Chef Dominique to curate a custom experience for you at the sushi bar. You’ll never have the same experience twice.
When you order the omakase, you are opening your mind to an experience like no other. You’ll get Chef’s individual attention as he constructs dishes from the freshest ingredients possible. Whether it’s fish shipped overnight from Japan or accompanying ingredients from nearby farmer’s markets, it’s easy to see that the sushi here is made with quality first in mind.
Dining with Chef Dominique is like taking a class in food as well as life. You’ll learn culinary history along with how far outside your comfort zone you are willing to go. You will be challenged as your palette attempts to discern every single element of flavor. Don’t be timid. For you can never truly live if you aren’t open to new possibilities.
Here is what to expect if you do venture on a culinary journey with Chef Dominique:
Octopus topped with Pickled Beet and Habanero Gremolata
The Habanero Gremolata sets this a cut above the rest of any Octopus I’ve ever had. The Habanero is not too spicy and adds more of a slight smokey kick. This Octopus was so delicate yet flavorful. You won’t find any chewy, steamed bits here.
Mackerel topped with Wasabi Yuzu dressing, Fresh Grated Ginger, and Scallions
No canned fish found here. If you’ve never tried fresh Mackerel, you are missing out. It tastes similar to tuna but holds a sweetness that lends itself well to the spice of the grated ginger. Yuzu is a Chinese fruit with a citrus taste like a hybrid of lime/lemon/grapefruit. It helps cut through the oiliness in the fish to bring the sweetness out front.
Salmon Belly with Candied Garlic Miso Dressing
Belly is a fattier cut that is less firm with a very silky texture. The flavor is more mellow than your usual Salmon which means it’s the perfect candidate for garnish. Candied (caramelized) garlic adds sweetness and is more subdued than garlic on its own. Combine that with miso for the proper dose of umami and deep savory richness.
- Salmon with Salmon Eggs,
- Tuna with Lemon Zest,
- Ama Ebi with Pomegranate and Macadamia Nut reduction,
- Yellowtail with Kizami Wasabi
- Fluke with Spiced Truffle Ponzu, Freshly Grated Ginger, and Dried Shiso Leaf
Salmon with Salmon Eggs might seem like overkill. I’m here to argue that it is not. The eggs add a much-needed salinity which brings out the freshness and sweetness of the Salmon.
Lemon zest, while simple, should not be overlooked as an ingredient. The presence of it on the Tuna not only adds color but accentuates the natural taste and freshness of the fish.
Not only does the presentation of this bowl present a certain “Wow” factor, each garnish plays directly to the strength of the seafood it rests on. Ama Ebi (Sweet Shrimp) is a cold-water variety known for its sweet taste and creamy texture. This type of shrimp is actually perfect to be eaten raw as cooking will destroy much of its flavor.
Fluke, also known as its Japanese name Hirame, is a beautiful white fish with a faint briny flavor. You’ll love its mild, slightly sweet flavors as the Truffle Ponzu adds earthy undertones. Dried Shiso Leaf (think Japanese Basil) takes this one over the top with its unique basil and anise qualities. Combine those zesty and spicy overtones with the Grated Ginger to truly bring out the heartiness of the fish.
Toro topped with Smoked Shoyu, Fresh Grated wasabi, Uni, Sturgeon Caviar, and Tarragon
It’s easy to see why Toro, a fatty belly cut of tuna, is considered a delicacy. The fattiness, paired with the Uni (Sea Urchin Eggs) creates a buttery sensation. The saltiness of the Sturgeon Caviar and spice from Grated Wasabi bring your taste buds back to reality for a powerful and cerebral tasting experience.
Small Sampler Plate
- Uni with Sturgeon Caviar and Fresh Wasabi wrapped in Cucumber.
- Squid garnished with Shiso Leaf, Kizami Wasabi, and Wasabi Yuzu Dressing.
- Albacore with a Thai-inspired Garlic Sauce.
This sampler was easily the most adventurous part of this experience and, quite frankly, a perfect ending to the journey. Uni, as Chef Dominique reminds me of its “aphrodisiac” qualities, are the sex organs that produce roe (or eggs). Don’t let the origin scare you. This is delicious and what I would call the “bone marrow” of the ocean. It has a texture of a firm custard and delicate umami-salty sweetness. The Cucumber shell feels almost as it’s cleansing your pallet while you chew, ensuring each bite is a divine experience.
If you’ve only had fried Squid, you’ll love this version. The raw Squid has a more delicate flavor and is firm to the bite. It’s not chewy which makes the textural experience one worth having. Much like the dishes before, this relies on the herbs and sauce to add multiple different layers of flavor. This creates a unique experience you won’t have anywhere else.
Albacore, more commonly known as the meat in your canned tuna, deserves a second chance in its freshest form. The firm flesh is more reminiscent of steak. This cut had the appropriate fat content contributing to a richer taste. It’s hard to even compare this to its canned counterparts since the flavor here is less pungent. Educate your tastebuds and experience the familiar in a new way.
Believe it or not, you can find this exciting experience on the menu. The price varies depending on ingredient availability, but you can expect to spend anywhere from $60-90 dollars for a similar experience. Dining on a budget? No problem. Let Chef know what that ballpark figure is so he can create a menu around it. Dietary restrictions? Don’t worry, Chef Dominique can even prepare Vegetarian options. The spirit of omakase is truly about creating an unforgettable experience tailored to you.
Did you know Salmon is a white fish with its color coming from the crustaceans it eats? Or that sushi’s origins can be traced to China several thousand years ago? Learn this and more about the inspiration behind these creations as I sit down with Chef Dominique Lester on the RocketFuel HSV Podcast. Available on your favorite podcast platform or directly at https://www.rocketfuelhsv.com/podcast
Growing up between the Washington DC suburbs and Savannah, GA, Brett always found music and food to bridge the gap between the two worlds. Musician, US Army veteran, Software Engineer, dedicated home chef, Brett has worn a variety of proverbial hats and is used to traveling outside his comfort zone in pursuit of new experiences. Whether studying abroad in Greece or deploying to Afghanistan, food and the people involved in the process, became a way to relate to his ever-changing world view.
While an engineering career may have led Brett from Tampa, FL to Huntsville, more importantly, there was a flourishing food scene to explore. After discovering most of his coworkers had no idea what their city had to offer, he started a food blog to catalog his experiences and share recipes that demystify culinary techniques. He has found an audience in fellow foodies and industry professionals alike.
Aside from food, Brett also enjoys building his vinyl collection, sipping craft beer and whiskey, and building websites for small business owners. He loves exploring the city through the stories told by its long-time locals.
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