Umi’s new Omakase counter, M by Tasuku Murakami, proves an instant hit

Tasuku Murakami

Photograph by Angie Mosier

Umi has long been Buckhead’s go-to spot for special-occasion sushi. Its new omakase counter, M by Tasuku Murakami, is designed for extra-special occasions. Situated a floor above the main dining room, the eight-seat space has a serious following: In the two days after it was announced, it received more than 3,000 reservations. That’s saying something, especially when each seat costs $295, plus a 25 percent hospitality charge.

The 18-course omakase experience lets diners look on as Umi head chef and two-time Michelin recipient Tasuku Murakami plays with flavor pairings and small-batch ingredients. He tops smoked fatty snapper with crumbles of pickled green apples and a dusting of caviar. Then he whips up emerald chimichurri to accompany slices of fatty tuna and wagyu beef. (“Surf and turf,” he says.) It takes extra time for him to plate his signature dish: Maine lobster pieces meticulously placed in a large bowl and ladled with just the right amount of bourbon lobster sauce.

Lobster with bourbon lobster sauce

Photograph by Angie Mosier

Murakami has fun while doing it. As the courses go by, he and his patrons get to know each other. He smiles widely for photos as he cooks the beef over a flaming burner. He drinks a pour of sake with the group, clinking glasses with each person before tossing it back. (He also happily accepts a glass of Japanese whiskey proffered by a diner.) The omakase counter is only offered three nights a week, and the intimate environment seems to suit the New York City transplant.

Photograph by Angie Mosier

The omakase room was designed to let Murakami and his food shine. Created by celebrity interior architect Tom Dixon and Gareth Payne of Gareth Payne Studios, the small space is gleaming white—white lights, white yakisugi wood, white maple chef’s counter. It’s the exact opposite of the large, dimly lit restaurant below. Yet it shares the same super-luxe vibe, layered with an air of exclusivity—so don’t expect the buzz to die down any time soon.



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