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Jan 6, 2006 11:25 AM

Sushi Koji, Greenville - Help me Michael B.!

  • d

After my experience on a Saturday night several weeks ago, when Koji refused omakase (discussed on the general board), we tried again on Wednesday this week.

It was a nightmare. Waitress argued with me for a while, finally went to the back (Koji was in the restaurant, but the other two chefs were doing all the prep at that time) to ask, and came back and said, NO, and that you have to call in advance for omakase. She was pushing the "cooked" food very, very hard, and continuously pointed at the display of specials by the door.

I don't know how to explain that I don't need an all-out make a boat out of a mackerel experience. I just want an interative experience whereby the chef makes me good food, i eat it, decide if I want more, perhaps point at things he's making and say "how 'bout some of that?", etc. What I believe to be the whole reason you sit at the bar instead of a table.

Failing that, I want (and my husband especially wants) some rolls with the rice on the outside and that I know what fish is in them. The menu is imposible to know what is in a roll.

How was our meal? Mine was great, if small. I ordered the sushi selection, every piece of fish was GREAT, except the salmon was merely good. Mackerel, white tuna, tuna, yellowtail, scallop, all great! Baby octupus salad was fine.

My husband got the sushi dinner. He was very unhappy. The fish quality on the nigiri was not up to the level of the sashimi. He had a tuna roll w/ his nemesis, nori, on the outside and another roll with some mayonaise-y goop inside.

We were offered no other food. None. not by the sushi chefs standing two feet away, not by the waitress. I felt that the atmosphere was chilly. When Koji came out and began to cook, he stood directly in front of us and did not acknowledge us until we were leaving some time later. I had the distinct impression we were unwelcome and went home and ate (organic baked) Cheetos.

Michael, do you have any suggestions? Either how I can get chef's choice but not say the word omakase that seems to get me shunned? Or, failing that, can you name specific menu items to ask for? Should I get the heavily pushed "specials"? Even though sashimi is my first love and they do that beautifully, I want a few more substantial items, especially for my husband. Thanks for your time!

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  1. God, I wish I could help. I have known Koji-San and Hata-San for many years so these problems do not happen to me. I've actually seen people request what I have been served only to be told I am "special" person and they cannot get the same item. (how to piss off customers in less then ten seconds). I see disasters occur in the restaurant while I am there but I am unsure how to resolve them. To refuse omakase is unthinkable and stupid.

    I will be in Greenville in the next few weeks and will seriously discuss this problem w/ Koji-San. He needs to know this situation. The set dinner from Kyoto, Kaiseiki, needs advance reservations...Omakase only needs one second can one have advance reservattions for what is freshest at the moment?

    I will let you know my conclusions. I am very sorry my recommendations have resulted in a bad result.

    Still the best Japanese place in the South but fading fast. Mai in Charlotte is coming up from behind.

    3 Replies
    1. re: michael b

      Please don't apologize! I appreciate your help. If you do talk to Koji-san, perhaps you should describe me as a tall blonde with a Russian they don't spot me as the trouble-maker ;-)

      1. re: danna

        Should I add your interesting habit of picking your nose and placing the result under the bar?

        Not to worry...I will complaim/comment in a very Japanese manner...twelve years w/ Itochu Intl taught me a few things.

      2. re: michael b

        Hi Michael,

        Please let us know what happens. I have wanted to try omakase, but am now a bit scared to ask!

        We actually went tonight (doh - forgot they are closed on Mondays). Will try later this week.

        If there is something we should ask for specifically, I would love to know!

        Thanks again,

      3. Reread your post...mayo on sushi? My fav sushi bar (Hatsuhana) won't even make such crap.

        My number one complaint about Sushi Koji is the deep fried, mayo covered junk they push. One waitress (older, very serious) always pushes over fried crap.