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
I had so much fun reading your review and reliving all of the delicious courses.
It was so nice meeting you and hope to see you again at a future event!
Sashimi is the raw fish without rice and nigiri is the fish upon a small ball of rice.
Thanks for the correction. I always seem to mix them up without realizing it. We usually go for the rolls when we have ? sushi!
Great review and photos. I've never heard of this place so the review was helpful. I like how you said 'he or she' for sushi chefs. It made me wonder if i've EVER seen a female sushi chef behind the counter. I don't think I have. Kinda have to wonder why that is. How was the 4 year barrel aged soy sauce ?
Hmm, you're probably right about the sushi chef thing. I believe it is a Japanese cultural thing to be male but I'm used to restaurant chefs being both so I instinctively don't exclude when writing. As for the soy sauce, it's hard to say without tasting it alone. I generally eat my sushi straight as served. Regular soy sauce is a strong flavor so I don't use it or other add-ons. Maybe this version is milder as nothing tasted too strong in my recollection.
I'd eat like half of these! That sea bass sounded really good! Looks like you had an awesome meal!
Hehe Dennis isn't that into raw fish either but he'll eat some. You two... =)
This is Chef Aaron who served you. I'm glad that it seems like all in all you'd like your meal. I really appreciate the amazing pictures and the feedback in general. Not everything is always a winner off the bat. I apologize for the saltiness if it disagreed with you with the desert. Also I'm just curious what you meant about too much Wasabi in a roll. I don't remember serving you a roll. Please come in again anytime and check out our new line of dishes that we've designed. This specific Omakase was geared more towards the traditional but we have some new dishes that are slightly eccentric and more modern we've been playing with since we've seen you last. Also we've designed a desert without salt in general I think you might be very interested in seeing. Either way thank you for the review your group was a pleasure to serve. Thank you for your genuine enthusiasm and support
Thank you chef for your dedication to the job. For the dessert, I have nothing against the salt, which adds a nice contrast to the sweet but what happened is that some sunk down to the bottom once the rest was eaten, hence a salty *last* bite. It's a very nice dessert though, especially the softer chocolate balls! I also made a correction to my description about the [hand] roll. I can't handle anything spicy so it's hard for me to describe things that aren't in my tolerance like horse radish, wasabi, sriracha, and peppers.
Everything looks amazing, especially the sea bass and Zig Zag hand roll. Great post! :)
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