Splurge for the $150-per-person omakase at Minamoto and you’ll experience an elegant procession of pristine ingredients. Feeling less flush? An a la carte dinner or lunch will treat you just as well.
On my first visit to Minamoto, I did not plan to eat omakase. My friend and I arrived craving nigiri, only to discover that the sushi bar at this five-month-old Bellevue restaurant is reserved for omakase, where the chef plots your course through a multifaceted Japanese dining experience. Advance booking is required for two seatings a night. The price: $150 per person.
Certainly we could have satisfied our sushi lust less extravagantly at a table in Minamoto’s serene and very pretty dining room, but the sushi bar’s 14 seats were vacant — save for a couple of regulars — so we asked if they might make an exception. The host consulted the sushi chef, who nodded his assent. Thus we embarked on an impromptu evening of epicurean opulence.
The meal was a cavalcade of precious and pristine ingredients that began with a tiny pot of creamy tofu capped with uni, speckled with Key lime zest and freshly grated wasabi. A single Pacific oyster followed, wearing a citrusy foam cape and a briny crown of salmon roe and sea grapes.
11011 N.E. Ninth St., Bellevue
Reservations: accepted; required for omakase
Hours: lunch menu 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; dinner menu 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 5-11 p.m. Friday, 1-11 p.m. Saturday and 1-10 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday
Prices: $$/$$$$ (lunch $12-$30; dinner appetizers $4-$35, sushi/sashimi/maki $3-$22, sushi specialties $18-$48, dinner entrees $16-$95; omakase $150 per person)
Drinks: full bar; sake and wine; unusual Japanese beers and whiskeys; Fentiman’s sodas
Service: cordial, polite
Parking: on site, two-hours free in Alley 111 garage with validation
Sound: quiet to moderate
Credit cards: all major
Access: no obstacles
Each of those bites conveyed explosive flavors as fleeting as fireworks. Then came something quieter: uni paired with geoduck and spot prawns beneath mottled, musky petals of Italian black truffle for an enthralling, many-textured merger of land and sea.
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