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No omakase, but Sushi Sasa server delivers great off-the-menu dish

I wanted to pout last night when my server at

Sushi Sasa

, 2401 15th Street, told me omakase, the chef's tasting menu, was unavailable. His excuse: the chef is currently in Japan, and apparently no one else can make those selections. Sensing my disappointment, he quickly suggested waiter-kase, promising to deliver my nigiri choices with his favorite dishes.

And then he brought us a variation of the king crab leg sashimi, a special that's normally steamed and served with a couple of sauces. His secretly available version was saffron-baked, supple chunks of crab served with tart yuzu crème fraiche and ponzu sauce, and little mountain peaches that served as palate cleansers.

The point of ordering omakase is to get the most interesting and delicious foods the chef has on hand, but even without the guiding hand of the kitchen, that server gave me reason to forever surrender my choices at the posh sushi spot to the staff.

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