O-Ku’s Omakase dining experience is truly unlike any other we’ve had: The team has managaed to find a way to enhance the mystery and intimacy of the chef’s table experience. Michael Chanthavong, O-Ku Charlotte’s executive chef, pushes the boundaries of his guests and creates unique dishes, sometimes off-menu, that open up new worlds of flavor.
O-Ku, born in Charleston, provides a fresh take on Japanese cuisine. The South End gem offers rare dining options along with traditional sashimi and specialty rolls. They acquire their fish from the finest markets across the world, from Tokyo to Hawaii.
Chef Michael has spent most of his life in the kitchen. Born in Rochester, New York, Chanthavong has been a resident of North Carolina since 1992. With 13 years of hospitality experience and over a decade of experience as a sushi chef, the mastermind behind O-Ku Charlotte’s food brings all of his passion and experience to the table.
“My parents owned a restaurant in Winston-Salem and Pinehurst. I grew up around the kitchen and spent most of my time after school there,” he says.
As for what an “Omakase” is? It’s a Japanese tradition in which a restaurant-goer is treated to plates chosen specifically by the chef. The chef accounts for the guests’ preferences, serving up dish after dish. Omakase literally means, “I’ll leave it up to you.”
“The combinations of flavors are limitless depending on what we have in the restaurant that day,” Chanthavong says. “What elevates our sushi is the process and level of care. Our product knowledge and the quality of ingredients we use set us apart.”
The experience, from your spot seated at the sushi bar so you can watch the chefs work, starts with the lightest dishes, including sashimi and nigiri, and works its way up to the hot entree before finishing with a dessert.
Paired with a cocktail from the team’s stellar mixology program, this is a once-in-a-lifetime meal that takes around an hour and a half to two hours to complete. Trust us – you’ll want to savor every minute.