The Secret Ingredient
“Our focus at El Secreto is simply to bring the best products from the world to this intimate omakase experience,” said chef Paul Qui.
The 16-course tasting menu is now helmed by fresh talent Qui handpicked himself. “I’m excited to introduce chef Erik Melendez and chef Liu Huang. Both have been trained by the best in the business, including chefs Vu Le and Masatomo Hamaya, my head sushi chefs at Uchi,” he said. “I am looking forward to seeing what this collaboration brings.” Whatever it is, it’s sure to come with an element of surprise, a common theme at El Secreto, a speakeasy six-seat bar wrapped in slick black marble and Art Deco brass finishings.
Before the gastronomic journey begins, diners receive expert guidance in choosing beverage pairings for the evening. “We have an amazing Japanese sake program with super rare collectibles like bottles of Kikiusui Kuramitsu Junmai and Noguchi Noahiko 01 Junmai that are typically hard to get your hands on,” said El Secreto’s sommelier Josh Kasumovic.
Ninety percent of the menu’s fish is flown in fresh from Tokyo’s Toyosu Market several times weekly, while domestic fish is sourced from Inland Lobster and Truefin Seafood, including the Mere Point Oysters and bluefin tuna, and prepared by the chefs behind the bar. In addition to a parade of nigiri courses and hand rolls, Chef Qui highlights the menu’s chawanmushi, a savory egg custard dish. “It’s so basic in a Japanese household but so difficult to get right,” he said.
“At El Secreto, we achieve the perfect texture and elevate it with a generous amount of Golden Osetra Caviar.”