It’s been just over a year since Junichi Takazoe made a splash in the Sanford food scene by opening Jimotti’s Restaurant. The authentic Japanese experience fulfills that special Sanford requirement of being chef driven but somehow down to earth and homey, as if you were sitting at someone’s kitchen counter as they feed you all of their favorite things to make. That’s why having omakase at Jimotti’s, made just for you by Junichi-san, is an experience any Sanford foodie needs to put on their bucket list.
What is Omakase?
The Japanese word omakase roughly translates to “I trust you, so make me whatever you want”, and if there’s one person I trust to make me a delicious multicourse meal with one beautiful course after another, it’s Junichi.
You can typically expect 6-9 courses in an omakase meal, sequenced purposefully to lead your tastebuds on a journey, similar to a chef’s table concept. It’s a gastronomic dream, and basically the best choice you’ll ever make. I recommend it for a special date night (it’s an anniversary no-brainer).
Why should I order Omakase at Jimotti’s?
You’re an adventurous eater
I’ll say it: omakase is not for the faint of heart.
And by that, I really mean, it’s not for picky eaters. You want to talk about living in the present? Omakase is all about savoring each course as it’s presented, and it is a literal surprise what you’ll be eating next. For people who always order the same dish at every restaurant because they want to avoid certain tastes or textures, this would be a literal nightmare. (Or maybe like exposure therapy? I’m not sure, consult a real doctor.)
For those of us who live for this sort of thing, each plate is like Christmas morning. Not knowing what comes next is half the fun, and you will absolutely get to try things you wouldn’t normally order or that are never offered on the regular menu.
You like a lil of everything
Oh buddy, omakase does not disappoint when it comes to variety. During our meal, we ate everything from sashimi to pork belly, prepared every which way. There is a definite rhythm to the meal, with palate cleansers such as cold roasted eggplant topped with salty roe to balance out the heartier proteins and punchier sauces. Oh, and don’t forget about the lovely Japanese pickles and ferments– they make such a lovely and lively accent to the delicate textures and tastes of the sashimi, which is some of the best I’ve tasted.
The best part is that all of these dishes are portioned to be part of one huge meal, so even if you clean your plate each course, you’ll only be stuffed, not exploding.
You need an excuse to order that nice sake
They say, “you know good sake the next morning”. I say, “I’ll literally drink any sake, but it’s true what they say about good sake.”
Omakase is the perfect opportunity to finally order a nicer bottle of sake, because food this glorious deserves to be paired with an equally well made beverage. Enough said.
But really, the sake we ordered with our meal played off the food perfectly, and it had this incredible smoothness that set it apart from any sake I had tasted before. I kept making jokes about how silky it was because it says “silk” on the bottle, and I’m really lame.
Also. I might have been a bit drunk.
You enjoy the attention
You coo over the garnish and delight in the colors on the plate, and the server accepts the compliments on behalf of the chef. You gasp as you take in the aroma of the dish and ask if it contains bonito, and he chuckles and says yes. You make strange animal noises while you greedily gnaw and thrash, chewing up that delicious first bite– no, just me? Okay, that’s fine.
But seriously, the interaction with the staff and Junichi himself were one of the highlights of the experience for us. Because of the family atmosphere, it’s not intimidating to ask questions about the (rather complex) dishes you’re enjoying, and it’s super cute when Junichi peeks his head out of the kitchen to make sure that you’re enjoying the meal he crafted specifically for you. Pro-tip: make a reservation for omakase and make it on a weeknight. You’ll have the best opportunity for interaction on a non-weekend night when the restaurant is less busy with other guests.
Although be careful, because his daughters will totally steal your heart. (And your boyfriend.)
You don’t really know how to order sushi
It’s okay to admit! Let’s be honest, most people stick to their tried-and-true rolls, which are usually some sort of tempura fried avocado mango confection doused in eel sauce, which while (totally, completely) delicious and acceptable, is far from the true art of sushi. In my opinion, omakase is the best way to step out of your bento box (heh), because Junichi is hand picking his favorite cuts of fish for you to try. As stated above, it’s also a great opportunity to learn about exactly what you’re eating, especially if it’s something a lil funky that you would ordinarily be scared to order yourself. Hey, you might discover a new favorite! Omakase is a particularly good experience if you know you like raw fish but you don’t know what to order.
Pro tip: do yourself a favor on ANY visit to Jimotti’s and order the salmon sashimi. I always think salmon is such a trite sushi choice because most salmon is dull and flavorless, but this? THIS. Oh, this. Talk about melt-in-your-mouth goodness. You will thank me.
Omakase at Jimotti’s
This was hands down one of the most incredible food experiences I’ve enjoyed. I really, sincerely recommend it to anyone who loves Japanese food, Jimotti’s, or trying new things. It will make any occasion special, trust me!
Please contact Jimotti’s directly for an Omakase reservation. (407) 952-3329 or Facebook
Sanford365 was in no way paid or compensated for this review. Sumalee just likes to eat. If you would like to compensate Sumalee to eat at your restaurant, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.