An upscale new sushi spot has made its way to Montecito: Rosewood Miramar Beach has opened Ama Sushi inside the resort, located at 1759 South Jameson Lane. The restaurant is an homage to Japan's Edomae tradition and named for women who used to venture into the ocean to collect seafood for their village ("ama" loosely translates to "women of the sea"). The restaurant joins Caruso's, the Manor Bar, and the Revere Room as dining options at the upscale beachfront resort.
Osaka-born executive chef Kentaro Ikuta, who worked for 13 years at Michelin-starred omakase restaurants, is heading up the kitchen, where he's joined by chef de cuisine Scott Yonamine, who was most recently in Tokyo at Musahi Sushi, and sushi chef Wendy Ramos, formerly of Nobu Malibu.
Ama Sushi offers both a la cart and omakase options that highlight seafood from the Santa Barbara coast as well as carefully selected items from the Toyosu Fish Market in Tokyo’s Kōtō Ward. The a la carte menu is broken down into appetizers such as amagaki oysters and tamago tofu with local uni; salads and usuzkuri (thinly sliced sashimi); a selection of fried foods that include a variety of tempura and chicken karaage; and seafood and meats grilled over Binchotan charcoal. Grilled options range from Hokkaido scallops to Miyazaki A5 wagyu ribeye.
Wild-caught and sustainable fish can also be ordered as simply prepared hand rolls or uramaki (inside out) rolls. The fish used at the restaurant will rotate seasonally, in keeping with Japanese tradition.
As for the drinks, the wine list highlights California and European bottles, while an extensive sake selection featuring some highly prized selections from Japan. To create the cocktail program, Nils Schabert, Rosewood's director of bars, hand-picked more than thirty varieties of Japanese whiskies. Highlights include the Hinode, served Tokyo Kaikan Style with a king cube in a coupe with mezcal joven, pineapple liqueur, acidified dry vermouth, black lemon bitters, sparkling sake & kinome; and Tsumiki, a coconut-infused sake-based cocktail. There's also a selection of zero-proof cocktails, including the Kaizen, which combines a carbonated cold brew genmaicha with pandan lime reduction and strawberry.
Design firm AvroKO contributed to the restaurant's dramatic interiors, which were crafted to bring the history of ama divers to life. The overall aesthetic blends Japanese minimalism with Southern California coastal touches: There's a blue ombre plaster ceiling meant to mimic rippling seawater, American oak-paneled walls that nod to Japanese fishing huts, a scalloped 13-seat sushi bar, and a custom chandelier decked out in layers of sheer linen. Ama Sushi also offers terrace dining alongside the restaurant's koi pond.
Ama Sushi is open daily for dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Omakase seatings can be reserved at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m.