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August 12, 2022

'Sushi Whisperer' Kevin Yanaga opens tasting room at his restaurant in Fishtown

The 25-course menu costs $195 per person and guests also can include a sake pairing for an additional fee

Food & Drink Sushi
Omakase Yanaga Courtesy of/Eddy Marenco

Omakase by Yanaga, the second part of Kevin Yanaga's restaurant at 1832 Frankford Ave. in Fishtown, has finally opened after construction delays. The menu features 25 courses of nigiri, sushi, appetizers and dessert for $195 per person.

After extensive construction delays, Kevin Yanaga – a chef known as the "Sushi Whisperer" – has opened the second half of his dual concept restaurant in Fishtown. 

Omakase by Yanaga is a small, intimate dining experience with eight seats and a 25-course chef's tasting menu. The first half of the restaurant, Izakaya by Yanaga, opened in September at 1832 Frankford Ave. and serves traditional Japanese hot and cold dishes.

"Omakase offers a higher-end dining experience that is upscale, personal, and intimate," said Yanaga in a release. "Focusing highly on fresh, exotic, and semi-traditional offerings for both food and drink, we are excited and humbled to bring this high-end experience to the Fishtown, Northern Liberties, and Kensington area."

The space is located through double doors at the back of Izakaya, where guests get to watch Yanaga craft each dish as he discusses them. The meal has a set time of 90 minutes and includes 12 courses of nigiri, three non-traditional sushi, nine appetizers and one dessert. 

Tea and cocktail pairings also are available for an extra fee. For sake lovers, Yanaga and General Manager Michael Ego choose six to eight different options for the rotating menu. 

Omakase Kevin YanagaCourtesy of/Eddy Marenco

The omakase's 25-course menu includes 12 courses of nigiri, three courses of non-traditional sushi, nine amuse courses and one dessert. There are optional sake, tea, and cocktail pairings available for an extra fee.

"I love the flexibility and freedom to take the menu in new and different directions each day," Yanaga said. "My goal is to have people leave with a smile on their face and see them try something new they may not have tried before. With 25 courses, the options are really limitless." 

Omakase SushiCourtesy of/Eddy Marenco

Yanaga told PhillyVoice earlier this year that his goal throughout his entire career in Philadelphia has been to man the sushi bar at an omakase, especially one that is his own. Omakase by Yanaga is open Thursday to Saturday with reservations at 6 and 8:30 p.m.

Yanaga was born in California but spent most of his early life in Japan. He grew up in Kawasaki and began cooking in a series of small restaurants while he was in school. 

He moved to Philadelphia in 2009 after working in kitchens in Salt Lake City, New Orleans and Southern California. He began his career in the city at Morimoto in Old City before moving on to Hiroyuki Tanaka's Zama in Rittenhouse Square. He also has worked at Pod in University City and Double Knot in Center City.

Yanaga told PhillyVoice earlier this year that he was excited to open an omakase room because he likes working in an open kitchen where he can interact with guests.

Seatings are Thursday through Sunday at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. and costs $195 per person. Reservations are required and guests are asked to cancel with 48 hours of notice if they do not plan to attend. 

Dietary restrictions for vegetarians, those who are allergic to shellfish, those with soy or gluten allergies, and people who eat kosher cannot be accommodated.