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Omakase, anyone? In Providence, 16 courses of chef’s choice sushi

A tako chawanmush, which is a classic Japanese-style savory custard that is steamed, at Nami.Wendy Lin

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On Election Night, nearly every newsroom is doing the same things: aggressively hitting the refresh button on the results page of the local elections board, texting (or yelling) back and forth with campaign managers, and — most importantly — diving into boxes of pizza. Each greasy slice tastes better as the night goes on.


The next day, while we evaluate the election results, many of us are also reevaluating the decision to eat so much pizza the night before.

I’m not sure if it’s healthier, but sushi is my next-day go-to. I’m over the bread and cheese. Give me seaweed and salmon, please.

Nami, a fine Japanese sushi and steakhouse restaurant in Providence owned by Wendy Lin and her husband, is now serving just the kind of tasting menu I need for times like this. For $100 per person, they are holding “Omakase” dinners, a 16-course tasting menu that varies each night.

The dinner, which includes a soup pairing and dessert, is lead by executive chef Stanley Chen, who has been with Nami since it opened. He sources ingredients from fisherman who are based in Japanese seaports, serving up kinmedai (golden eye snapper), toro, sea urchin, opakapaka, or A5 wagyu — which you eat raw.

Edible gold flake, caviar, and toro at Nami.Wendy Lin

Each course is a small, creative bite.

”These are the kinds of dishes where a chef needs the knowledge and skill to prepare,” said Lin, who explained that some of these ingredients are not for the novice chef.

Omakase means “I leave it up to you” in English. It’s an elaborate way for chefs in Japan to serve multiple courses that are built around seasonality and the quality of ingredients available to them.


Yaki king salmon with sear king salmon at Nami.Wendy Lin

At Nami, that means you could go every night they host the dinner — Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays — and Lin said you’ll never eat the same dish twice. In “The Story of Sushi,” Trevor Corson writes that a sophisticated diner in Japan will say “Omakase” to the chef when they sit at the sushi bar. “Sushi connoisseurs seldom order off a menu. Traditionally, sushi bars in Japan didn’t even have menus,” wrote Corson.

Lin said she couldn’t find that kind of experience locally, outside of the restaurants she has dined at in New York City.

”When we dine out, I appreciate the skills and ideas I see in New York. We wanted to bring that here,” Lin said.

Nami is located at 198 Atwells Ave. in Providence, Rhode Island. 401-537-7216.

If you have suggestions or need a recommendation, shoot me an email at

Visit Food & Dining in Rhode Island for more. Because everyone’s gotta eat!

Akami lean tuna with truffle mushroom on top at Nami.Wendy Lin

Alexa Gagosz can be reached at Follow her @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.