Hush’s omakase typically consists of 14-course tasting menus with composed dishes, sashimi, and nigiri for ten or fewer guests. The oft-changing dishes use seafood sourced from Texas company Minamoto Foods. Arellanes notes that it’s “not a traditional omakase,” as he explains over email, but that he “make[s] sure there is integrity for the Japanese elements that are part of this experience while still making it my own,” applying his experiences cooking various cuisines ranging from Japanese to Spanish.
Arellanes, who grew up in Las Vegas, New Mexico, had been cooking at restaurants since he was 16, he started attending Luna Community College for culinary studies when he was 20, but then dropped out opting to cook at real restaurants instead. He also learned how to cook from his grandmother at home.
Then Arellanes moved to California, where he worked as a line cook and eventually sous chef at Santa Barbara restaurant Toma. That’s where he learned how to really cook in his opinion, from executive chef Nat Ely, including “the importance of intention in cooking, which translated to my being as a whole,” Arellanes writes. “It takes a lot of focus and time, and this job became a passion that enveloped my life.” It’s also where he learned about the importance of sustainability and using every part of the fish.
After Toma, Arellanes worked at the now-closed hotel restaurant Outpost in Goleta, California, and then Montecito restaurants Monarch and then the Silver Bough from chef Phillip Frankland Lee. When the latter two closed, he switched to Lee’s other restaurant in the city Sushi|Bar, which earned a Michelin star in 2021 during that time. It was there where Arellanes says he “learned the art of omakase,” under head chef Lennon Silvers Lee.
Arellanes moved to Austin to help Sushi|Bar open a Texas location later that year, but had his own goal of opening his own business. (Now that the original Austin location isn’t under Lee anymore, and the entire restaurant brand is now named Sushi by Scratch Restaurants.)
Hush started in December 2021 as a pop-up with the help of his savings and a loan from his mother. Arellanes first hosted the meals at his friend’s automotive shop in Zilker for only six guests at a time, then switched to undisclosed locations, still with the goal of opening a physical restaurant. There had been a space in the works in late September of 2022, but those plans fell apart eventually because his main investor pulled out, thus losing the intended location.
So now, in the meantime, Arellanes is operating Hush on a pop-up/private home omakase meals (or as he calls it, “homakases”) as he looks for potential investors, venture capitalists, or big loans to help secure a restaurant space.
In its current iteration, people are able to book Hush for $150 per person with add-ons for sake pairings as well as post-meal a la carte dishes. Parties range from two to 10 people. Settings have included private homes, condo kitchens, and even a hotel room once. Arellanes’s girlfriend and partner helps with the sake pairings and general manager/front-of-house duties.