platters of sushi

During the height of the pandemic, when restaurants were closed or offering takeout only, what food did you miss the most? Was it scalding hot french fries or ramen with bouncy noodles? What about just-made tacos or a dirty water hot dog? For Max Weiss of Greenwich, CT, it was sushi. And not just California rolls, but the real deal nigiri best sourced at a high end restaurant.

Weiss grew up in a family of pushy grandmothers and great cooks, so food was always important to him. As soon as he could drive, he would take friends on adventures to places like Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, known for its Old-School Italian food. Then, in college, where he majored in Hospitality, he realized that he spent all his time thinking about what he wanted to eat, reading about food, and watching food TV. When he thought about his dream job, he knew it was owning a restaurant.

chef finishing a piece of nigiri

In April 2020, in the midst of the lockdown, Weiss started reaching out to his network to see if he could find a chef who would come to his family’s home and prepare a private omakase dinner. He and a business partner ended up finding two sushi chefs with the same idea, and the premise went from sushi for his family to an at-home omakase as a business. That’s how Ten Homakase was born.

People were receptive right away, excited to have a safe, celebratory sushi option in their own home. Ten Homakase, which takes its name from the 10 courses in a traditional omakase, has done everything from intimate, two person date nights to parties with 25 guests, appetizers and bartenders. They even served lunch to 36 employees at an office, an avenue they would like to pursue further as workplaces fully reopen.

The fish that Ten Homakase sources for their dinners is of the same quality as all of the high- end sushi spots in New York City. They spend just as much time preparing for their service as those restaurants. The difference, Weiss explained, is that at other restaurants the chefs are serving multiple seatings a night, while the Ten Homakase chefs only serve one group. He likened it to a performer singing the same song multiple times in a row versus giving one stellar performance.

tuna nigiri

Ten Homakase, which currently operates in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Maryland, is open to working with customers to customize their menus to meet specific tastes and dietary preferences, including for kosher and vegetarian clientele.

Weiss sees this as a new wave in the restaurant industry, rather than an extension of existing catering businesses. “I think in the restaurant industry this is going to become something,” he said. “This isn’t simply a Covid venture or experiment. I think it will last.”

AUTHOR

Sarah Strong

Beyondish Assistant Editor Sarah Strong is a New York City based writer who holds a master’s degree in food studies and is obsessed with television. You can follow her on Instagram at @feedsstrong to see where she eats, what she cooks and what sneakers she’s wearing.

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