Chef’s Choice

For your next small gathering, reserve a room at your favorite eatery and give the chef free rein

Holiday parties are intended to celebrate family, friends and co-workers but planning the event shouldn’t add stress to an already busy time of the year. Look to restaurant professionals who can guide your group to the perfect party designed around your budget, party size and taste.
For a group of 10 who love food and drink and wanted to celebrate another year of friendship together, we worked with Tsunami Union Heights general manager, Jason Goble, and director of food operations, Drew Kawaguchi, to craft a custom omakase menu coursed over a Friday evening dinner.

Omakase simply means “chef’s choice,” and if your guests are adventurous diners, this kind of meal service will ensure that the group gets the freshest and most interesting fish choices along with creative sampling of other items the restaurant might want to highlight. As a party of five couples, our focus was on keeping an eclectic group satiated with a varied selection of raw fish in the form of sashimi, nigiri and rolls while also making sure that those who didn’t love fish had options that were to their liking as well.

Friendship and sushi just go together

To create an even more memorable evening, we asked Tsunami’s sake ambassador, Jill Watanabe, who is trained by the Sake School of America, to create a custom pairing for each course. Throughout the evening, she shared nuggets of information about how sake is made, different sake styles and how the quality of each is determined.

As our friends arrived at the Union Heights location of Tsunami, we settled around the table in the private dining room upstairs, snacking on edamame and sipping cocktails.

Our celebration dinner soon began with an amuse bouche of poke tuna with a raw quail egg presented on a spoon. The shooter featured meaty tuna chunks topped with bright orange tobiko and sesame seeds coated in creamy egg yolk. The evening was already off to a great start.

A selection of four kinds of sashimi arrived next. Chef Kawaguchi suggested the order in which each piece of fish should be eaten while Watanabe introduced our first sake pairing of the night—Hakatsuru Junmai Daiginjo Sho Une. This dry, full-bodied sake paired particularly well with the salmon and fatty tuna sashimi.

Next came a plate of lightly fried vegetable, scallop and shrimp tempura that wowed the table. Acknowledging that nothing pairs better with fried foods than beer, Watanabe and Kawaguchi offered Japanese Orion Mugi Shokunin beer for sipping.

We returned to raw fish for the third course with five pieces of nigiri which Chef Kawaguchi explained had already been properly seasoned with wasabi. He instructed us to eat each piece with our fingers to keep the rice intact for the perfect bite. Our German and Danish friends found the pickled kohada more palatable than the rest, but the unagi was a unanimous favorite. The delicate kampachi and luscious ocean trout were most complemented by Watanabe’s pairing of Kikusui ‘Chrysanthemum Water’ Junmai Ginjo sake that offered up smooth citrus notes.

Plates of grilled meat arrived next featuring Tsunami’s best-selling Korean short ribs along with negima (thinly sliced New York steak with a ginger teriyaki sauce) and baby back ribs. These were served with Kikusui “Funaguchi” Nama Genshu sake—special ordered into Utah just for Tsunami locations.

Sake pairings make for a celebratory mood

And Tsunami was far from done with us yet! Platters of sushi rolls—including the Executive, Tidal Wave, DTH, Jenny and Aloha—arrived for us to share family style.

To end the meal, our party had the choice of cheesecake, fried ice cream or Coconut Glory for dessert alongside our final sake pairing of Tozai “Snow Maiden” Junmai Nigori, a cloudy, creamy sipper with hints of fruit and spice. As for budget, the dinner cost roughly $100 per person plus $35 for the sake pairings. A great way to celebrate friendship.

Fresh cuts that melt in your

Tsunami offers party planning at all four locations. Audio visual hookups and free WiFi make this an ideal way to recap the business year and celebrate the season with family and friends.

Tonight’s OMAKASE Menu
• Amuse-bouche of poki yuna with quail egg
• Edamame
• Sashimi paired with Hakutsuru sake
• Tempura of shrimp, scallops and vegetables paired with Orion Mugi Shokunin beer
• 5-piece nigiri combo of maguro, kampachi, ocean trout, kohada and unagi paired with Kikusui “Chrysanthemum Water” Junmai Ginjo
• Grilled meats of Korean short ribs, negima and baby back paired with Kikusui “Funaguchi” Nama Genshu
• Makimono: Executive Roll, Tidal Wave, DTH, Jenny and Aloha
• Coconut Glory or cheesecake paired with Tozai “Snow Maiden” Junmai Nigori
Tsunami Restaurant & Sushi Bar

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