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Feb 13, 2009 07:10 AM

Sitting at a sushi bar

Do you have to order sushi when sitting at a sush bar? Can you order items from the kitchen or is that frowned upon?

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  1. My experience has been that a few items you would order at a sushi bar may be prepared in the kitchen (usually baked or broiled items, like Hamachi collar), so ordering them is fine. But I'd ask first before I sat down, especially as a single diner, and ordered a teriyaki chicken combo plate. If not a direct insult to the sushi chef (which it likely is) it's at the very least a waste of usually prime seating. If you're with other people, and the issue is that you don't eat sushi, they make be fine with it. Probably depends on the place. Just my $.02.

    1. It probably depends on the restaurant, but I am not aware of any in my area that frown upon people ordering kitchen items and sitting at the sushi bar. I know when one of my favorite places is busy, the owner will offer up the sushi bar just so customers can sit and eat--regardless of whether it's raw or cooked.

      1. I would say that sitting at the sushi bar, you should atleast order SOME sushi. Unless you were seated there because the restaurant is full(i still think I would wait if I wasnt planning on ordering sushi). Sitting at the bar and not ordering from the Itamae, is akin to going to a dinner party at your friends house and bringing your own frozen pizza with you! its just kinda bad manners. But like I said, if you're ordering sushi and you feel like something from the full menu, by all rights feel free.......

        1. I went to one restaurant where the sushi bar was typically for walk-in diners. However, if you did not make a reservation, you typically had to wait 30+ minutes for the sushi because people who make reservations got first priority. If it's a situation where the bar is walk-in and the rest of the restaurant is reservations, then I think you're free to order whatever you want at the bar.

          2 Replies
            1. re: Whosyerkitty

              its not that you're not allowed, its that it is rude. which, it actually is. The bar is the Itamae's domain. Chosing to ignore him and his art is deemed a slight.

          1. I wouldn't. Save that prime real estate for someone who will appreciate it. (Not a shot at you or other non-sushi folks, just saying you might not dig watching it made if you don't eat it.)

            Plus, I've sat at several counters where the chef hands out samples while you are eating, and the idea of turning down an offered sample seems like really poor form.