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Yoshi's -- DISAPPOINTING service but wonderful tastes

muimi07 Oct 8, 2006 09:19 PM

I love jazz and I love Japanese food. It seemed Yoshi's would be a natural choice for where to celebrate my birthday. With new chef Sho Kamio on the scene, and after reviewing their menu, I was so stoked.

Well, we got there at we were treated horribly. I'd reserved for eight but only seven of us could show. I told the hostesses that and they seemed confused. We got there early for our 8:00PM reservation but they refused to seat us untila majority of our party was there. With five of seven people, they refused to seat us and did their damned best to ignore us as they seated other, more affluent looking parties.

To make a long story short, we were finally seated after a very non-nonsense demand on my part (after being polite for the last half hour and seeing a party of 6 being seated, I was quite unhappy), we were seated.

The service was very spotty but as this is Chowhound, I'll focus on the food which was d e l i c i o u s. I knew what I wanted after looking at the menu -- the gindara, miso-marinated black cod served with a pressed rice cake. Among the other dishes sampled that night included the jewel box tartare, beef tataki, beef nigiri and mounds of sushi. A friend of mine ordered the kurobuta pork but was told later that they were out and she'd have to order something else. (She opted for the gindara.)

I liked the gindara, myself. It was beautifully cooked and carmelized; just cooked through while still moist and flaky. PERFECT! I would have preferred more though; the portion was much too small. My friend (who had originally ordered kurobuta) liked it but she prefers Kirala's version.

The beef tataki was so absolutely stunningly delicious that my husband couldn't believe it. Too bad there wasn't more of it, he lamented. My other friends looked to enjoy their jewelry box tartare and spicy tuna millefuielle, respectively.

I took care to ask whether their toro was 'otoro' or 'chu-toro' and was informed that it was indeed 'otoro'. Stoked, I ordered 'otoro' nigiri with the hopes that, if it was good, that I'd be ordering the toro sashimi. It was otoro but tasted more like regular maguro -- not marbled enough. Needless to say, I didn't follow up with an order of toro sashimi.

"Too small" was the evening's theme in regards to portions. Though the sushi was quite reasonably priced as were the appetizers, we all agreed that all the entrees were TOO SMALL for the price as we all left hungry. I know that for so-called "good food", you could expect to pay a lot for a little but this was an example of the price to food portion ratio being extremely unbalanced. The gindara was $21; for the amount of food given, I would have expected more around the lines of $15 ~ 17 to be more reasonable.

On a plus side, the sake was quite good and the atmosphere was excellent. I loved the decor and the tatami room. The service (aside from the hostesses) was friendly though extremely slow. I'm willing to go back to Yoshi's again for sushi ONLY and not with a crowd if they'd make up for the less than nice treatment I recieved from their front desk hostesses.

  1. Robert Lauriston Oct 8, 2006 09:29 PM

    It's standard practice for busy restaurants to refuse to seat parties until everyone shows up. Expecting them to seat five people at a table for seven is unreasonable.

    1. m
      ML8000 Oct 8, 2006 10:03 PM

      To add to that, if there's a performance involved, standard policy might be to seat as many as possible so there's the least amount of disruption...sort of how ushers won't seat you until a break in the action.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ML8000
        muimi07 Oct 9, 2006 03:37 AM

        Thing is, we didn't do the jazz thing. Just the food. I can understand the not seating until a majority are there but 5 of 7 is a majority and the hostesses were plain rude about it.

        1. re: muimi07
          Robert Lauriston Oct 9, 2006 06:29 AM

          Missing people don't always show up. A busy restaurant can't afford to seat parties of five at tables for seven at peak dinner hour.

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