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O-Ku is located in a building next to Union Market. It is currently helmed by opening chef Brian Emperor, who is apparently well established as a Japanese cuisine chef. We inquired about the omakase ($80 and $120), which generally consist of dishes selected by the chef from the menu. We decided to order on our own so as to get dishes we want and avoid dishes we don't want. Executive Summary: Awesome (and priced to match) We started with 3 items from the Robata Grill, hanger steak, chicken meatballs, and yakitori (chicken thighs). The steak was tender and well seasoned and should be ordered by anyone who loves heifers - I don't think the garlic chips added much though. The chicken meatballs were heavily laced with scallions and the dip is made with raw egg - I think it's pretty tasty (but probably even tastier if made with pork). And the chicken thighs were good too. That was followed by some fantastic tempura soft-shell crab roll. Actually, the two end pieces were tempura soft shell crab, the 3 middle pieces were filled with delicious snow crab meat. All the pieces were topped of wasabi tobiko but none were polluted with avocado as stated on the menu (maybe there was avocado in there but I don't recall tasting any). What I did taste was the fresh crab meat. Then came the sashimi. We went with the Kindai o-toro, aburi toro (aburi means lightly torched, hence the whitish color), and Hokkaido scallop. The blue-fin is decadently fatty but the winner is the Hokkaido scallop, which tasted sweet and pristine. Finally, we had sweet prawn, anago, signature anago, and sea urchin sushi. Again, the quality of the seafood is top notch but I don't have an impression of the rice (it's like the rice isn't even there). With a couple of drinks a piece, the bill was $110 with tax per person.
After a couple "meh" experiences at other sushi spots around town, I have seen the truth, and it is Hori-san's sushi rice. I absolutely cannot bring myself to get excited about eating sushi anywhere else. Yes, yes, the fish is superb, impeccably prepared, and seasoned such that your soy sauce and freshly grated wasabi stare on longingly as you neglect them throughout the meal. But that rice. So perfectly seasoned, juuuuust sweet enough, and never overpacked or structurally unsound. I honestly think you do yourself a disservice by ordering sashimi at Kata. As far as I can tell, the play is to get an appetizer or two (chicken skewers 3 ways, miso eggplant, and the ceviche wouldn't be a bad way to go), and then ask for an omakase sushi from the chef with as few or many pieces as you feel like. We've done this both from the sushi bar and the tables.
Coming soon apparently