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Urasawa etiquette question

kesey Aug 22, 2007 02:01 PM


Friends and I have a reservation for Urasawa to celebrate a birthday in the group and we are all super excited about the opportunity to experience the legend! However, one person wants to come who does not eat sushi. She's willing to fork over the money to sit in the seat and just not eat and I am totally cringing at the prospect of this and of the insult that I feel it represents. Do I need to get over it? Will Urasawa deal? Or should I make the effort to scratch her from the invite list? Thanks for any advice.


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  1. n
    ns1 RE: kesey Aug 22, 2007 02:06 PM

    either go someplace else or find another person

    1 Reply
    1. re: ns1
      kesey RE: ns1 Aug 22, 2007 02:09 PM

      this is sort of what I figured. Just wondered if anyone else had ever had this dilemna. And the choice is definitely to find another person... no way I am giving up this opportunity!

    2. wilafur RE: kesey Aug 22, 2007 02:07 PM

      i say call and ask them what the policy is.

      otherwise, i will battle servorg for the "trained seal" position. =)

      1. ipsedixit RE: kesey Aug 22, 2007 02:15 PM


        When you say your friend does not eat sushi, what do you mean? As in she does not eat nigri sushi or any kind of sashimi?

        What about other types of Japanese foods? Usually he will serve things like shabu shabu, kobe beef, and even cooked fish.

        Are those off limits for your friend as well? If they are, leave her at home. If not, it might be worth a shot.

        Oh, and HIro will usually ask what a person likes and doesn't like. So, no, I don't he'll be offended.

        4 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit
          kesey RE: ipsedixit Aug 22, 2007 02:25 PM

          Thanks for the insight. She doesn't eat any raw fish so she'll deal with some of the other options, I am sure. And it's good to know what he might not be super offended. Hmmm. Perhaps we can make this work. I'll call, per the other suggestion, as well. Thanks guys ...

          1. re: kesey
            rickym13 RE: kesey Aug 22, 2007 02:57 PM

            let us know the outcome and your experience

            1. re: kesey
              QualityMart RE: kesey Aug 24, 2007 12:59 AM

              You guys will all be stressed out and it will detract from everyone's experience. Sounds like a bad idea in the making if you ask me ...

              1. re: QualityMart
                rameniac RE: QualityMart Aug 24, 2007 12:47 PM

                i totally agree. it might cause tension within the group, but then again i'm pretty sensitive to stuff like that.

          2. d
            Diana RE: kesey Aug 24, 2007 08:15 AM

            I think it would be very rude. not only to the Itame, but to another person who could have had that seat who WANTED to eat Sushi.

            It would be tremendously insulting to confront your gracious servers and chef and fellow diners to the ongoing presence of someone who is there, but does not like and refuses to eat their food and art. Part of his pleasure in presenting your food is seeing you enjoy it!

            Also, think of the poor sushi, nigiri, sashimi lover who lost out because your friend paid to sit and waste the itame's time and space!

            Tell your friend to meet you afterwards at a bar.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Diana
              calabasas_trafalgar RE: Diana Aug 24, 2007 10:17 AM

              If they were poor, they wouldn't be there in the first place!

              1. re: calabasas_trafalgar
                Diana RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 24, 2007 01:39 PM

                I didn't mean poor as in financially. I mean poor as in sad people who lost out on a chance at sushi nirvana as a chair is taken up by a non-sushi eater.

                1. re: Diana
                  calabasas_trafalgar RE: Diana Aug 24, 2007 03:28 PM

                  I know; I was just kidding...
                  Personally I think spending $4-500 per person on sushi is just ludicrous. And I'm strictly a nigiri sushi person, no a Sushi Dan guy.

            2. s
              Six_of_One RE: kesey Aug 24, 2007 09:24 AM

              If you let Urasawa know in advance, he can prepare a menu for your friend that doesn't include anything raw. My girlfriend is the same way...on one of my trips to Urasawa, I mentioned to him that I would like to bring my girlfriend, but I can't because she won't eat raw fish. He told me to bring her, and offered to prepare a menu including only cooked items and vegetables.

              It worked out great, and Urasawa didn't seem to mind at all. I've also seen him serving a completely vegetarian menu to someone while their companion had the standard sushi menu. As long as you give him advance warning, I don't think it should be a problem at all.

              1. PeterL RE: kesey Aug 24, 2007 09:37 AM

                I don't know anything about Urasawa but do they have other Japanese food like udon and certain kind of rolls? We had a similar situation just last weekend and the person who don't eat sushi just ordered udon. Maybe a lot of sake will make her change her mind. I would be weary of charging her the full price though.

                And for those who suggest finding another person, please. This is a group of friends getting together to celebrate a birthday. If the food is more important than the friendship, then certainly if I were her I would reevaluate the friendship.

                11 Replies
                1. re: PeterL
                  ns1 RE: PeterL Aug 24, 2007 10:04 AM

                  asking if Urasawa serves udon and rolls is like asking if a bentley came with purple fuzzy dice

                  1. re: ns1
                    PeterL RE: ns1 Aug 24, 2007 10:43 AM

                    While I lack personal experience, I am quite sure Bentley will configure the interior of the car in any way you want them to.

                    Other posters with direct experience with Urasaway have said that he would accommodate.

                    1. re: PeterL
                      archer RE: PeterL Aug 24, 2007 11:14 AM

                      Agreed. I thought the point of gathering friends for a birthday was first decide with whom you want to share the occasion based on your friendship and then choose the food. And for what you pay at Urasawa, I'm sure that there's no problem tailoring a menu to fit the needs of your friend. I'm sure that he's encountered this situation many other times w/ vegetarians, pregnant diners, etc.

                      1. re: archer
                        ipsedixit RE: archer Aug 24, 2007 11:16 AM

                        And, really, why worry about offending Hiro?

                        After all, you are paying him to serve you.

                        He should worry about not offending you.

                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          PeterL RE: ipsedixit Aug 24, 2007 12:56 PM

                          I blame that on FoodTV and related shows such as Hell's Kitchen.

                  2. re: PeterL
                    rameniac RE: PeterL Aug 24, 2007 12:58 PM

                    these are good points, and i'm sure urusawa would accomodate and prepare a vegetarian or no-fish menu or something. although if i was her and really wanted to come, i would just suck it up and eat the raw fish, because i'd do it for birthday person's sake! unless i actually had a physical allergy or something that prevented me from eating it, in which case of course it would be understandable.

                    personally, unadventurous or non-open minded eaters bug me, but that's a whole other can of fried worms. at any rate, we're not talking about anything TOO far left field here (at least to me), but rather, quality food at one of the most highly regarded restaurants in north america!

                    1. re: PeterL
                      Diana RE: PeterL Aug 24, 2007 01:41 PM

                      When you pay almost $300 a person for a sushi experience, it had BETTER be about the food. Groups can hang out anywhere. Urasawa is not a themey "roll with that wonderful spicy mayonnaise, ooh ooh! now give me a philadelphia roll and a Godzilla roll with hot sake please!" kind of place.

                      For that, kindly keep to Sushi Dan's "Rockin'" sushi.

                      1. re: Diana
                        westsidegal RE: Diana Aug 24, 2007 04:23 PM

                        it is not urasawa's birthday.
                        the party, imho, is not about the food, it is about the birthday boy/girl's feelings.

                        it doesn't matter how much money is spent.

                        1. re: westsidegal
                          rameniac RE: westsidegal Aug 24, 2007 04:44 PM

                          if i were the birthday boy, i'd make all y'alls eat the shirako and some live ika! =)

                        2. re: Diana
                          archer RE: Diana Aug 24, 2007 05:03 PM

                          The person in question doesn't or can't eat raw fish (there's been no mention that she's seeking gimmicky rolls which in any case also use raw fish), but somehow out of friendship is still willing to pay the price of dinner @ Urusawa. I'm sure the very gifted chef can (for the price of $300+) create an inventive, delicious selection of items such as Kobe beef, tofu, vegetables, seared fish perhaps, etc. He's often had to make accommodations for people & at that price should consider it an interesting challenge to see what he can come up with for her.

                          1. re: archer
                            bulavinaka RE: archer Aug 25, 2007 11:47 AM

                            I agree... although I've never been blessed to have eaten at Urasawa, I have often read that he is trained in the Kaiseki tradition, which incorporates a broad range of foods. Some of the important issues to those who offer a Kaiseki experience is that the ingredients which they incorporate into their dishes must be the best that can be sought out and at its peak, it must be presented in a way that is pleasing to all of one's senses, it should be experienced in a serene environment where the flow of dishes has a natural rhythm to it and the service provided is personal, attentive yet nearly transparent.

                            The kind of proposal that the OP presents probably isn't the first time that Urasawa-san has been presented with this kind of issue. I would think he would consider this more of an interesting twist on what he normally does. Being from Japan, having his depth of training, and being blessed with a gift in culinary ART, he might even enjoy doing things like this. Instead of, "I'm painting another Mona Lisa tonite." Maybe he will see it as, "Cool, I get to paint another Mona Lisa while simultaneous painting Water Lillies with my left hand..."

                      2. choctastic RE: kesey Aug 24, 2007 08:07 PM

                        The only thing that I've heard him say he'll never make is a California roll. Oh wait, and spicy tuna roll. I guess rolls are not his thing...

                        1. r
                          rickym13 RE: kesey Sep 19, 2007 05:32 PM

                          so...what end up happening?

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