Omakase is the ultimate expression of trust to a sushi chef. It is a chance for sushi lovers to try new items that have been overlooked. In case you’re not familiar, Omakase dining involves a chef-determined, multi-course menu prepared directly in front of a chef who prepares bites of whatever fish is in season. This is typically prepared at a bar with about 12 seats or less.
Shoji at 69 Leonard Street was created with the diner’s experience top of mind. Chef Derek Wilcox’s passion and thoughtfulness for his work are unrivaled. Derek Wilcox is the first, and still the only Westerner to complete a full 7-year apprenticeship at a traditional Japanese Kaiseki, the famed 3 Michelin starred Kikunoi. He was introduced to Proprietor Idan Elkon by their mutual friend and famed sushi chef, Masato Shimizu. Hitting it off it immediately, they partnered to open the intimate sushi and kaiseki counter in Tribeca.
Since Chef Wilcox is fluent in both English and Japanese, he is able to explain the complexities of the dishes and tell stories of his experiences. Wilcox has long been fascinated by Japanese cuisine and culture. He took an externship during his time at CIA, becoming an expert in both kaiseki and edomae sushi.
The Omakase evolves with time, highlighting fresh, seasonal fish, fruits, and vegetables in a 20-course menu. The first half is 6 Kaiseki courses, including both grilled foods and sashimi, followed by 10 pieces of nigiri, 1 soup, 1 roll, and finally a pair of deserts.
“We have a personal fishmonger on the ground at Tsukiji fish market handpicking most of our fish,” said Idan Elkon, “we source only the best organic produce mainly from local farmers who we work with very closely for the kaiseki portion of the omakase.” In fact, Shoji is the only restaurant in New York City that serves a Kyoto Kaiseki and Tokyo Edomae Sushi hybrid in one omakase menu.
The experience typically runs 2.5 hours at $252 per person (as in Japan, the price is inclusive of gratuity + hospitality). There are seatings available Monday-Saturday from 5:30-9:30 PM. Available for buy out.