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Watch: How a Sushi Master Prepares For the Nightly Omakase

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Toshio Tomita of Cagen in NYC only knows what he’ll be serving once the morning delivery arrives

For sushi obsessives, few words incite the level of glorious anticipation as omakase. Short for “omakase shimasu,” the phrase translates into trusting one’s fate in another’s hands, and has come to refer to the Japanese tradition of letting the chef decide what you’ll be eating. In some cases, what exactly will be served as part of omakase isn’t just a surprise to the diner, but also to the chef himself.

The first episode of Eater’s new series Omakase treks to high-end sushi bar Cagen in NYC’s East Village, where the menu isn’t decided until the day’s seafood deliveries arrive.

Chef-owner Toshio Tomita, who trained for more than a decade under sushi legend Nobu Matsuhisa, works closely with Japanese seafood brokers to ensure his restaurant — and therefore, his customers — get the very best fish available. But besides just freshness, Tomita seeks originality, striving to serve things that diners won’t find just anywhere, such as the bizarre-looking cornetfish (or aka-yagara). Watch the video above to see Tomita prep a dazzlingly fresh array of seafood for the night’s lucky omakase customers.

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