For all its many culinary appeals, including several great sushi spots, Oakland hasn’t had a standout Japanese restaurant that combines raw and cooked food in an omakase, or chef’s choice, format. Delage, which officially opened on June 7, brings this concept to Swan’s Market in Old Oakland.
Chikara Ono, of B-Dama next door, has teamed up with Masa Sasaki, the sushi chef who earned a Michelin star at Maruya in San Francisco, to offer a prix fixe menu for $65. With only about 20 seats, eight of them at the sushi bar, the restaurant is sure to be a tough reservation to score.
Our evening began with a beautiful salad of Maglia Rosa tomatoes with perfectly ripe, halved Bing cherries and baby arugula and an earthy-tart ume-shiso pesto, which set the stage for the elegant courses to follow.
Next, the server arrives with a flat, square sheet of Himalayan salt on a wooden platter, and on that block rest two glistening pieces of raw salmon, each with a little cilantro flower, just picked from the plant on the sushi bar, placed on top. It’s partner on the plate is medium-rare Miyazaki beef, Wagyu from Miyachiku co-op.
As the first of two rounds of sushi arrives, we realize we’re going to need to pace ourselves. Four pieces of nigiri, each cut to be one bite, are presented next: Bluefin tuna, Japanese yellowtail, sea bream and butterfish, offered without adornment. Sasaki has placed the recommended amount of soy sauce directly on the fish before sending it out.
The bottle of nama sake we ordered, Tedorigawa Kinka, is a bargain at $60 and pairs beautifully with the light, but rich, food.