Japanese Cuisine by Omae
Sakizuke – Ikura and Mushrooms with Grated Daikon, Ponzu Sauce
Zensai – Amaebi Tartar, Celeriac Puree, Tomato Sorbet, Shrimp Chips
Mushimono – Steamed Scallop, Mozzarella, Grated Turnip, Golden Brown Sauce
Sashimi – Salmon, Horse Mackerel, Red Snapper, Scallop from the Tsukiji Fish Market with Japanese Plum, ginger, wasabi
Sumiyaki – Charcoal Grilled Cod with Truffle Soy Sauce over Rice
Teppan – Grilled Wagyu Steak with Roasted Onion and Wasabi Mashed Potatoes with Shallot Soy Sauce
A5 Kobe Upgrade +$80
Cold Drip Coffee
Dessert – Greet Tea Tiramisu, Mochi Coated Strawberry, Assorted Berries, Yuzu Cream Spoon, Vanilla Cream Puff, Passion Fruit Gelee
Toqued by Takeshi Omae, a man bestowed stars from Michelin in Japan and one with plans to expand his culinary concepts stateside, Japanese Cuisine by Omae originally launched at 3650 South Decatur a few months back and with early praise lavished on the $20 lunch it was finally in September that the twelve seat space debuted its true vision, a $100 Omakase to which myself and four friends sat down on Saturday night. Intimate in size with a pair of four-tops and a duo of two seaters set beneath subdued chrome lights in hushed dining area decorated with kimono and koi it was just moments before our 5:30 reservation that our group settled in and with beverage service currently limited to non-alcoholic options green tea and sparkling water ordered, our one-man service team keeping cups brimming throughout our seven-course experience while presenting each dish in great detail. Measured in pace with portions trending small as the two-man kitchen turned out edible works of art without a single detail overlooked it was with a textbook bite of delicate tempura set next to briny baubles of salmon roe that our meal began and progressing next to dishes melding sweet shrimp with tomato sorbet and briny to soft mozzarella the team’s creativity took the spotlight early, a large bowl of elegantly plated, though unfortunately common, sashimi selections reigning things in before moving to plates more substantial. To this point impressed, though not particularly ‘wowed’ by any single course, it was finally the Sumiyaki that saw all five of us swoon as umami-rich rice provided a crispy juxtaposition to flaky fish and finishing up with reference standard beef, simply prepared with a light kiss from the grill, alongside aromatic mashed potatoes preceding a board of small, elegant desserts plus Japanese 6-hour drip coffee the evening ended strong, no one particularly full but everyone discussing how Las Vegas needs more restaurants of this kind.
FOUR STARS: Undeniably a dining ‘experience’ as opposed to a simple meal it will be interesting to see how well Omae fares in its current format, the pricetag apparently prone to an increase of $50 at the end of the month. Oddly located, though really no more-so than Raku or Kabuto, and easily on par with the skill-set of any Strip-based omakase while proving quite capable of sourcing premium ingredients including A5 Kobe direct from Japan the longevity of Omae will be dependent, largely, on the support of locals and in a city where the ‘next big thing’ is never more than a week away I truly hope the restaurant finds it audience early on and word of mouth spreads quickly, though I must say even the current pricepoint makes me leery.
RECOMMENDED: The tasting menu is your only choice, though supplements will reportedly vary depending on season and sourcing.
AVOID: For myself, the difference between well sourced Wagyu and the perfectly marbled A5 Kobe did not justify the $80 surcharge, though the difference was notable from the bite I was offered by a tablemate.
TIP: Open for two seatings, one at 5:30 and another at 8:00, reservations are most easily made online through the restaurant’s website and confirmed via text-messaging system that alerts you of the event on the day of. Also, with liquor license pending, Omae is currently non-alcoholic.
DISCLOSURE: Obviously hands-on in all aspects of his business Shinchiro Tanaka contacted me via e-mail prior to our meal and stated he wanted to ‘comp two of the five covers,’ an offer I kindly rejected until the Chef insisted he would have it no other way. Still uncertain as to why this was offered, though the obvious possibilities have been considered, in no other way was our meal any different from that of the surrounding tables.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor