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Rebel Omakase | Orange County Michelin Guide Japanese Restaurant

Photography by Timothy Kwon

Rebel Omakase’s minimalist aesthetic and exquisite dishes make it a standout sushi concept, offering a traditional omakase experience with elegant and savory selections.

In the heart of Orange County, nestled among charming Laguna Beach boutiques and just a few steps away from the Pacific Coast Highway, you will find Rebel Omakase, added to the Orange County Michelin Guide in its first year of opening, a restaurant renowned for its exquisite sushi and perfect for those who appreciate the delicate art of Japanese cuisine.

And as the name suggests, the restaurant is centered around the art of Omakase, a Japanese phrase used when ordering meals in restaurants that simply means, “I’ll leave it up to you,” letting the chef choose the culinary experience from start to finish. Omakase offers a culinary adventure for those seeking to experience the true essence of Japanese cuisine. It requires a willingness to trust the chef and an appreciation for the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into each dish. If you have the opportunity to try omakase, be sure to come with an open mind and an empty stomach, as it is truly a feast for the senses.

Sushi is the cornerstone of Japanese cuisine and while most may think “sushi” is just raw fish, the word actually refers to the vinegar, salt and sugar seasoned rice. Initially, the concept of sushi was from China, which may come as a surprise to most. Sushi originated as a method of food preservation, where salted fish was mixed with cooked rice and left to ferment to preserve the fish. The concept then spread to Japan around the 9th century, and by the 15th century, it had continued to evolve and Japanese cooks discovered that the fish didn’t have to be fully fermented to taste great, and thus, raw sushi was born.

Today, sushi has become a global phenomenon, with various adaptations and innovations to suit different cultures and tastes. From the traditional nigiri and maki rolls to modern fusion creations, the dish has come a long way from its humble origins as a simple method of preserving fish. Despite its many forms, the core principles of fresh ingredients, skilled preparation, and attention to detail remain at the heart of this beloved Japanese cuisine.

And unlike in the 1950s when sushi was mostly served indoors, it is now widely available and can even be found in grab-and-go refrigerated sections of grocery stores. But of course, if you’re looking for sushi paired with an extraordinary dining experience, Rebel Omakase has got you covered. At Rebel Omakase, sushi is treated with the respect it deserves as an art form with Chef and Owner Jordan Nakasone as its artist. Chef Jordan spent years honing his skills, including time working under Kimiyasu Enya at the esteemed Sushi Enya in downtown L.A.’s Little Tokyo, as well as an apprenticeship in Japan.

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The restaurant’s alternating menu allows Chef Jordan to dream up new items inspired by traditional sushi restaurants in Japan as well as his own childhood experience eating Japanese cuisine regularly. However, even though he is always inspired by Japanese cuisine and culture, he never uses spicy or cream-based sauces or artificial ingredients in his dishes–everything served at Rebel Omakase was made there.

The Orange County Michelin Guide experience begins with plated traditional items like tempura, Clear Soup or chawanmushi. Next comes the sushi portion of the meal, but first, guests are given a strawberry  sorbet infused with wasabi to cleanse their palates in preparation. Chef Jordan carefully prepares sushi for the guests, ensuring he uses only the finest ingredients—all of the seafood and most of the vegetables are sourced from Japan. And for those guests with a sweet tooth, don’t you worry. For the finale, you will be treated to a delectable dessert that will surely satisfy your taste buds.

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Along with their crafted courses, guests can also choose from a selection of beverages to pair with their meals. Select a sake such as the pure rice variety Tanaka 1780 X Chartier Blend 001 junmai or choose from other drinks such as beer, wine, Champagne and tea.

If you’re looking to indulge in this unique culinary experience, be sure to reserve your spot as space is quite limited. Rebel Omakase offers two seatings per night, available only by reservation, ensuring an intimate and personalized experience for each guest seated at the 10-seat sushi bar. Be sure to set aside a few hours for your unforgettable dining experience that is sure to leave you craving for more! Visit Rebel Omakase at 361 Forest Ave #103, Laguna Beach, CA 92651. To make a reservation, visit Open Table or send a text message to the restaurant. 

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