Santa Barbara Wine Country's Luxurious New Omakase Experience, Ama Sushi
A combination of Japanese ingredients and Central Coast seafood.
In the depths of Tokyo Bay, "ama" divers have free dived for pearls and seafood like abalone for more than 2,000 years. A practice that continues along the shorelines of the bay is for the highly skilled swimmers to scour the bay for the freshest catches of the day and share them with their villages.
California's Central Coast is about to get a taste of that ancient tradition with Ama Sushi, which opens July 29 at Rosewood Miramar Beach.
AMA Sushi is located within the five-star Montecito resort, along with Kentaro Ikuta, executive chef at Michelin-starred Omakase and Kinjo in San Francisco, Scott Yonamine, executive chef at Musashi Sushi in Tokyo, and Wendy Ramos, executive chef at Nobu Malibu. As a part of Japan's Edomae style, fish on the plate are not snipped or dived for, but rather sourced from Santa Barbara's waters.
A technique established in the 1600s to extend the shelf life of raw fish, Edoe sushi is sourced locally, as ama divers did in Edo Bay, and it is often marinated with salt or vinegar. In addition to abalone, uni, yellowtail, and Shime-Saba marinated mackerel, Ama Sushi will also feature tuna, A5 Wagyu, and other fish that are wild and sustainable.
There are 13 seats at the restaurant's white onyx sushi bar, which features scallop-shaped sushi and omakase menus with oysters topped with chili, daikon, and ponzu, crab salad with cucumber and wakame seaweed, fried chicken karaage, grilled cod with ginger and sake-kasu, a nutritious by-product of sake production.
The wines come primarily from California, the spirits list includes more than 30 Japanese whiskies and a unique sake list features six available by the carafe and 40 by the bottle. Cocktails include the Kosame, a modern combination of Japanese vodka, shiso, rice wine vinegar, verjus and roasted black sesame sea salt.
“Sushi-yas, restaurants that specialize in sushi, are an inextricable part of California’s food culture and we are honored to bring our version to life here with Ama Sushi,” said Massimo Falsini, director of culinary operations of Rosewood Miramar Beach. “Chef Ikuta’s expertise and meticulous attention to detail along with our renowned brand of five-star service will make for a truly memorable sushi adventure.”