Oh, My Omakase!
Fine dining is far from dead in Los Angeles, and the proof is in the prix-fixe.
Blink and you might miss the unassuming entrance to Q Sushi in Downtown Los Angeles.
Consistently named one of the top Sushi restaurants in the city since opening in 2013; Q Sushi from Chef Hiroyuki Naruke and wife Kyoko offers a transformative Edo-style Omakase experience like no other.
Both Lunch and Dinner Omakase (Chef's choice) are available and the price is either $150 or $200 before adding in sake or craft beers.
Therefore an opportunity to sit for the highest level Tsubaki Omakase probably warrants a special occasion.
But how often do many of us sit down for a casual 18-course meal nowadays?
It all begins with a Washington State Oyster before moving on to a Red Snapper from Japan. This bite will have you bubbling inside with excitement like a child on their first trip to Disneyland.
Next comes a Bluefin Tuna from Spain with a Sweet Miso Vinaigrette signaling that this meal at Q Sushi is going to be something beyond the purist sushi you might find in Japan.
Moving on there is Yellowtail from Hokkaido, Japan; the Premium Toro Sashimi (my favorite); Hokkaido Scallop; Fluke from South Korea; Black Snapper; and Striped Amber Jack.
With your senses on fire take time to notice Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" accompanying every bite and the deliberation of Chef Hiro's fingers like a pianist working and molding the rice in perfect harmony. The rice at Q Sushi is considered just as important as the fish and consists of the finest balance of red vinegar brewed from aged sake cakes and sea salt.
The Soy Marinated Bluefin Tuna comes next and is followed up by not one but TWO pieces of Toro over Rice. Seeing a duo reminds you to savor every morsel and not pop them in your mouth like spicy tuna poppers.
Next, there's a Baby Snapper; an introduction to the dangerous world of the Japanese Barracuda; and a King Salmon from the Columbia River in Washington.
Now just when you're thinking there can't be more, Chef Hiro brings out a blow torch, and it's on to a melt in your mouth Seared Toro with Shishito Pepper Paste.
An order of House Marinated Salmon Eggs and Santa Barbara Sea Urchin offers the cooling effect of winter. And the final Tamagoyaki dessert signals that the symphony is over at long last.
The meals ends quietly with a discreet slide of a check, and as you exit meekly onto the busy streets of downtown Los Angeles you realize you've forgotten you were here at all.