Picky eaters need not apply.
But if you’re feeling adventurous, trusting and willing to splurge, there are a handful of chef-selected fresh-fish-focused experiences in our city a mile above the sea, that are absolutely worth a try. These meals bring the element of surprise, an IRL-version of the popular foodie documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Omakase menus consist of dishes that are chef-selected and regularly rotate. Made with the freshest of ingredients, seasonal produce and typically in small settings with a viewable kitchen, it is considered polite and hopefully most memorable for patrons to eat the dishes precisely as they are offered. If you’re curious, here’s where we recommend.
Sushi Sasa – This modern, minimalist LoHi sushi staple started serving high-quality seafood and traditional, yet creative Japanese cuisine more than eleven years ago. The current Omakase menu is just barely a month old and has already been well-received. Drawing inspiration from old-school Japanese techniques incorporating unexpected international twists, chef Wayne Conwell has been busy curing, pickling and fermenting a variety of ingredients. For the last 6 months, the Sushi Sasa team has been hard at work on the nine-course Omakase menu and the entire system behind it. The $120 meal starts with Amebi, pimento and cucumber cubes, with sturgeon caviar, atom crackers and amaze pipets. The fourth course includes a Japanese red snapper, romanesco, ume salsa, Champagne vinaigrette, with a pickled plum honey jalapeno gel and pickled grapes.
Matsuhisa – With two other Colorado mountain locations, the top-notch approach of world-renowned chef Nobyuki Matsuhisa came to Cherry Creek earlier this year with true mastery of the craft. The extensive sushi menu is met with oysters, tempura, salads, Japanese soups, a variety of entrées, and cold and hot specialties. The Omakase menu changes daily depending on what inspires the chef. The standard lunch and dinner options include "Nobu Matsuhisa" (lunchtime: $95 for seven courses; dinnertime: $125 for eight courses) signature dishes, including yellowtail jalapeño or tiradito preparations. The "Grand Omakase" ($175 for eight courses) has upgraded ingredients, from caviar to truffles to Miyazaki beef.
Sushi Ronin – Rooted in traditional sushi prep and contrasted with moody and creatively energetic environment, this LoHi restaurant has received rave reviews in the little less than a year since it opened its doors. The Omakase is a dine-in only option, asking patrons to "trust the chef," with six pieces of sashimi, the chef’s daily roll, or the seven-course chef’s daily tasting menu, all at market price. The meal typically starts with a cold appetizer, oysters or sashimi, then goes into warm food for the next two courses, such as a kitchen dish or broiled fish dish at sushi bar; next up, there's sushi or nigiri, and finally the meal ends with dessert. Though the Omakase menu is always changing, the format remains consistent. The seven-courses are priced between $75-$90.
Zengo – With a recently revamped menu and space, Richard Sandoval’s 13-year-old Pan-Asian restaurant has three varieties under the Omakase portion of the menu. Zengo Zen comes with 20 pieces of sashimi, nigiri and hand-rolls for $29. The salmon option includes salmon miso nigiri, fried sushi salmon gunkan, and salmon tartar. Finally – and, to be clear, this is a rarity on most Omakase menus - the vegetarian option has an eggplant miso gunkan, roasted red pepper nigiri, and goat cheese apple roll for just $14.
Sushi Den – Behind the curtain and through the folding doors is a peacefully intimate space for just eight guests at the Denchu or chef’s table. Sushi Den’s Omakase menu has gained national attention for its authenticity. Six thoughtful courses include sushi and sashimi from a wide variety of freshly caught raw fish shipped daily and directly from the Nagahama Fish Market at the southwestern tip of Japan. The chef’s choice meal is created by master chef Toshi Kizaki each morning when the shipments arrive. The price point begins at $120 per person, not including alcohol, tax or gratuity. Pro tip: Reservations book out fast.