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Santa Maria Sun / Biz Spotlight

The following article was posted on July 31st, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 21 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 14, Issue 21

Spotlight on: Omakase

Eric Huynh and Sid Patel, owners


Take a seat
The Omakase dining room and sushi bar is ready for diners.

Omakase Japanese Restaurant opened its doors on June 29 and has thrived since then. Owners Eric Huynh and Sid Patel have collaborated and meshed their strengths to create a balance of fine food and hospitality.

The decor in the Old Orcutt restaurant reveals a trendy and city-like look while incorporating the rustic and inviting feeling that’s familiar to the Central Coast. Oakland designer—but Central Coast native—Kimlynh Chun wanted Omakase to be a place where anyone could feel comfortable while enjoying a fresh, quality meal. Her design and art reflect her goal.

“It is an innovative take on the traditional,” she said. “We use inviting colors, and I have tried to focus on the elements. We have stone in our sushi bar, wood on the walls, and water in the fountain. Everything is very artistic here.”

A fish tank will soon house stingrays and sharks. There’s also a beautiful waterfall, decorative wedding kimono, unique light fixtures, comfortable booths, a long sushi bar, a sake bar, and an open kitchen.

Apart from the design, Chun used local craftsmen and materials for all of the decor, stone work, and furniture.

“We have kept everything in the Central Coast; we have not hired outside of the area,” shared co-owner Patel.

Beyond the unique décor, the seafood is caught daily, and Omakase prepares meals with only the freshest ingredients.

Eric Huynh, co-owner and head chef, listed a few of the many live ingredients: “live sea urchins, live scallops, live shrimp.”

The Japanese word “omakase” means “chef’s choice.” The restaurant embodies the meaning, because it’s a place to experience creativity. The three chefs can boast 60 years of combined experience. Omakase is definitely a place for both conservative and daring customers, the latter of whom can tell the chef “omakase” and receive a new and beautiful dish to try.

“It is a very creative and playful aspect that guests enjoy,” Chun said.

The open kitchen gives guests the luxury of seeing where their food is coming from and who is handling it. It’s very important to the owners that all ingredients are fresh and nothing is microwaved.

“We make all of our soups and sauces from raw ingredients,” Patel shared. “We do not use powders to make them.”

There’s also an alcohol bar that serves different flavors of sake, which doesn’t compete with the local bars in Old Orcutt because it’s unique to the Japanese culture.

“We do not want to compete by having a bar,” Patel said. “We serve sake because it is part of the culture. We want to do what we do, but to the best of our ability. We want to give customers the full experience.”

Bringing this restaurant to Orcutt was a result of noticing how the city is evolving and growing. Omakase is the first sushi restaurant in Old Orcutt and is excited to be part of the community.

“The Old Orcutt community has been very welcoming and warm to us,” Patel shared. “Many people are excited.”

Owners Huynh and Patel look forward to expanding the restaurant to serve a variety of Asian cuisine, apart from only Japanese.

“Many people have asked if we were going to serve Pho,” Patel said. “That is a very popular Vietnamese dish.”

“In the design, I wanted this to be a place where someone could come in jeans and a T-shirt, or could come wearing heels for a date night—a comfortable environment that is able to grow with future generations,” Chun shared. “We want customers to not only have food, but we want them to come here and have an experience.”


Biz Spotlight is written and compiled by Intern Rebecca Patterson. Information should be sent to the Sun via fax, e-mail, or mail.