WORTH THE DRIVE: 17-course sushi experience returns to Tender Mercy

Nov. 17—The Sushi — Bar Omakase 17-course experience is returning to Tender Mercy after a sold out, five-day event over the summer.

They initially planned to do a pop-up for three days, but as tickets sold out they added two more. The demand for tickets exceeded expectations with over 500 people left on a waitlist.

"We had all of these people that were on our waitlist that never had the opportunity to come," said Ryan Stock, co-founder of Adept Hospitality who operates Sushi — Bar in Dayton. "We felt like there was a really cool opportunity to try to come back."

Omakase is a Japanese term that means "leave it up to you" or "chef's choice." For this experience, guests sit in front of the chef and are served by the chef the entire night. The 17-course meal typically features a mix of sashimi and nigiri appetizers. Seatings are limited with 10 guests per seating and three seatings per night.

Since the last pop-up, Tender Mercy has added Dōzo, an elevated sushi concept to the back room of the restaurant. Dōzo is open 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, so the timing for the pop-up worked out perfectly.

"There's so much to learn from The Sushi — Bar team for our team and there is so much inspiration on the front side of Dōzo that came from our experience in hosting the Sushi — Bar team in June," said Chris Dimmick, co-owner of Tender Mercy.

The Sushi — Bar experience is unique to the Dōzo experience. With Dōzo, they take the omakase experience to the 38 seat back room, instead of keeping it at the bar with 10 seats.

"Our approach of bringing the traditional omakase experience to Dōzo... is being expressed currently through our monthly prix-fixe menu (that's) chef-driven," Dimmick said. "It's $65 a person and over four courses you get 10 to 12 pieces of food — nigiri, appetizers, a dessert, etc."

Dimmick and Stock are looking forward to bringing this unique experience back to Dayton.

Seatings are available Sunday, Dec. 3 through Tuesday, Dec. 5. Tickets are $195 per person. The experience starts 15 to 20 minutes prior to the scheduled seating time with a complimentary welcome cocktail. It is expected to last nearly two hours.

Sushi — Bar first opened in Los Angeles and Montecito, California in 2019. In 2020, Adept Hospitality, a partnership between Stock (a Dayton native), Josh Tohl and Jonathan Husby joined forces with partner Steve Michaels of Asylum Entertainment Group, to expand the Sushi — Bar concept into Austin. The concept has since expanded to Miami Beach, Chicago and Dallas.

Tender Mercy is located at 607 E. Third St., Dayton. For more information or to buy tickets, click here.