Omakase at TOO Sushi Project - Carlsbad, CA
Omakase has been on my to-do list for a while and I finally had the opportunity earlier this month! Too Sushi Project strives for the best quality seafood and other ingredients, which includes sourcing from Tsukiji Market in Tokyo or local fisheries. That morning, fresh fish was flown in from Japan so we were in for a real treat!
For those who don't know, omakase is where the chef chooses the menu for you. He or she has the creativity to play with flavors served and bring a new dining experience to the table. I was actually surprised there was even a sushi bar inside this business named "Thai One On". This Carlsbad location, in the neighborhood of Rancho Santa Fe, was a bit of a "restaurant in a restaurant" concept. The other location in Vista focuses completely on Thai. Here, Chef Aaron was in charge of our omakase. He and his lovely staff banged out a meal to remember.
Note: There was no written down menu so excuse any typos in the ingredients
Course #1: Farm Raised Japanese Yellowtail with dashi infused soy sauce. You can really taste the delicate deliciousness of the fish!
Course #2: Norwegian Salmon with ponzu sauce, shaved onion, and bonito flakes. Salmon is a favorite of mine and this sashimi had a beautiful texture in the mouth.
Course #3: Fish & Chips made with tempura fried halibut, ponzu malt vinegar, and housemade wasabi aioli w/ honey and lime. I loved the presentation of this two-bite dish. The housemade chip underneath was sturdy enough to hold up the lightly fried fish. I especially enjoyed the touch of lime and sweet in the sauce.
Course #4: Hawaiian Big Eye Tuna two ways, sashimi with 4-year barrel aged soy sauce, and nigiri with Italian white truffle salt, and wasabi infused salt on the side. I haven't had this before and I enjoyed biting through the flesh. It's firmer than ahi tuna I usually have and very pleasant experience. There was definitely a hint of wasabi hiding in the nigiri we were being served!
Course #5: Chilean sea bass with halibut consomme dashi broth. The fish flaked beautifully and I was enamoured by the light broth! Tender sea bass always makes me smile because we ate that at our wedding.
Course #6: Canadian Albacore with serrano chili & garlic sauted in butter, ponzu sauce and cilantro oil. I found it interesting how butter was incorporated through the toppings! Another tasty piece of fish.
Course #7: Puget Sound Oysters with ponzu sauce, green onion and lemon. Mine was huge and wonderfully briny, plus it provided some slurpy fun.
Course #8: Spanish Mackerel with freshly grated garlic + ginger ponzu. I was impressed that they incorporated the head of the fish. This fried piece tasted similar to dried calamari but without the chewiness. Mackerel sashimi was quite pretty with the slivers of grey but it is generally fishier in taste.
Course #9: Otoro Blue Fin Tuna + 4 year barrel aged soy sauce. I just love fatty fish and this one was easily a favorite of the night. The fish just melted in my mouth.
Course #10: Cold Smoked Norwegian Salmon with River Eel, smoked salt, eel sauce, and bonita shavings. The presentation was fun with a little swish of the domed lid while smoke drifted out! I also savored the salmon square topped with the yummy eel and sauce.
Course #11: Zig Zag Hand Roll - soft shell crab, avocado and soy paper wrap. The avocado sauce inside was mixed with something very spicy. I did attempt a nibble but no, I couldn't handle the burn. My plus one got a second roll to eat so he was happy yet feeling full!
Course #12: Fried bananas, berries, chocolate,and ice cream. The dairy free ice cream was imported from Thailand and is coconut based. I relished in the crunch of fried banana shells and chocolate balls. Ginger infused salt added an interesting element to the dessert but left the finishing bite a bit too salty (drained down).
Wow. Other than one hand roll that was too spicy for my tolerance, this was an amazing first experience. The chef really aims to please the customers with the plates that he serves. I was shocked when I found out their omakase price is $65, which is a total steal for the quality of the food. They also have a regular sushi menu if you want to be in control of your meal. Dennis was bummed he couldn't make it but I just might treat him soon! I'm also super curious about the Thai side of things for a future visit. TOO Sushi Project is definitely one of those neighborhood gems you should check out if you have a chance!
Disclaimer: I was invited to the restaurant by their PR company and the food was complimentary. I was not otherwise compensated and all opinions are my own.
TOO Sushi Project
7750 Rancho Sante Fe
Carlsbad CA 92009