yasu, so so.
Yasu is usually, by far, one of the best sushi restaurants I have ever had the pleasure of being in. It consistently wows, with inventive dishes and a definitive style that always have me wishing I was walking back in when I’m finally heading out. Yasu himself is charming and helpful and they have one wonderful, awesome waiter- an American with a suspiciously Japanese name who goes out of his way to help.
We did not get him.
On a Sunday at 7pm myself and 5 friends met for our reservation. We are all repeat customers. HEAVY repeat customers.
We ordered drinks and about the time they finally showed up, a cool 25 minutes later, we were informed they were all out of tuna.
Wrr? We all sighed and said… ok and ticked off an awful lot of other sushi options which we then turned in. A few minutes later, our waitress (emphasis on the ‘wait’) returned and said that the wait was 35 minutes for sushi and would we care to order from the kitchen? We reluctantly said ok and placed a few orders.
So imagine our surprise when moments later our sushi began to arrive. Well. Sort of. Our waitress appeared with 3 uni shots instead of 6. All 6 of us eyed them, wondering who we’d have to take out to get one, and I calmly ask the waitress to retrieve our other uni shots “expedited, perhaps”? Instead our waitress walked around the restaurant puzzedly WITH the uni shots like a nomad until she returned 5 minutes later to say there was no more uni. A nice bunch, we all surrendered our shots until the three smartest amongst us grabbed them and then crowed about their taste. The waitress offered us 3 oyster shots instead. They sucked.
So it was odd when oysters showed up WITH uni on them (though we should say we did order them that way) a bit later. 5 of them. For the six of us. Once again we all quietly stare at the plate. It is now an hour into our meal. We have already begun texting sweet republic, begging them to stay open. Or atleast bring us ice cream, or even burger king, because we're hungry, damnit. We are also hysterical. There are threats of violence via chopsticks.
A process is established. Every 30 minutes or so a single dish of sushi or something arrives. We each eat one piece, compliment it, and then spend 30 minutes digesting. Halfway through a waiter or waitress will appear to let us know something we ordered is out. But they have “everything else”. We have stopped being quiet and are now openly snarky about it . And hungry. At some point management approaches and we instruct him to turn around and go away until he has good news.
They are out of our sake, but are happy to suggest another that is 3x the price. One of the diners suggests they comp it. He laughs. After three hours, all still a wee bit hungry, but 80$ poorer and without a glimmer of hope for sweet republic, we depart.
We’ve been comped nothing. Not an “I’m sorry”. Not a “hey, have some edamame on us”. Not a “we’ve knocked 10% off the bill”. We are a bit hysterical over the comical situation, but also not a little pissed. A 400$ bill for a bunch of regulars with a reservation?
We went on a Friday night and had a similar experience a few months back. The food we ordered that they actually had was outstanding some of the best Asian cuisine we have had in the valley. The problem was they seemed to be out of quite a few things and this was 6:30 on a Friday Night. The whole pacing thing I thought was intentional until we ordered one last dish.
At that point our waiter disappeared, 15 minutes go bye, water glasses empty, beer glass empty, 30 minutes go bye still no sign of our waiter, 45 minutes after we ordered that dish go bye and I am full on pissed. I grab another waiter and ask for check now he said he would send our waiter over. Another 15 minutes go bye and at this point I am wondering if we just drop some cash on the table leave. Waiter shows up a full hour after we ordered the dish and says it should be coming out any second, do we want to wait for it he is borderline pleading with us to stay going as far to bring out his manager saying "the dish is coming right now, you want the food it will be here any second" but doesn't offer to comp the last dish we ordered. I couldn't believe it. To me that is such a basic simple thing. I have steam coming out of my head and want nothing more then to get out of there. My girlfriend convinces me to leave a tip small but something because the food we ate was so good and that the cooks will likely receive at least some of the tip. We got out of there fast and got some Mary Coyle to finish up the night.
We talk every couple of weeks about going back to Yasu because the food was so good, but in the end our lasting impression is the service at the end of the meal was so bad we end up going somewhere else. Too bad..........
Too bad that some simple service missteps couldn't have been rectified in a better manner. Obviously, that is not a big place, so there is no excuse for the manager not knowing exactly what is going wrong. There is also no excuse for a sushi place to run out of Tuna (maybe a more obscure type of fish, but Tuna is pretty popular).
I don't know why these restaurants don't learn, fixing a bad situation quickly, and making an unhappy customer happy, is way easier than winning back the loyalty of a customer who has been disappointed. An unhappy customer will be vocal, and cost way more business in the long run than comping a meal will cost in the short term.
I like Yasu, but haven't been there in a while. I hope this experience was an anomaly, as I do like the place, and hope to get there soon.