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Jan 9, 2010 10:54 AM

Kiyokawa Etiquette Question

Based on J. Gold's description of the soup at Kiyokawa:

"a strong dashi bathing a single, luscious round of daikon; some carrot; half a taro root with its hairy outside but not its potatolike inner skin removed; and a couple of snow peas"

I very much want to go there and try it. The problem is that, for a number of reasons (cost, I don't eat too much at one sitting, etc) I only want the soup. Nothing else.

So, my question is, can I just walk into Kiyokawa and order this soup, or will the chef get really mad and throw me out if I order only one thing?

I suppose this sounds silly, but I've been contemplating going to Kiyokawa for a week now, and haven't had the guts because of this issue. Has anyone been there and ordered only one/very few items?

Or, how about any sushi place, not even Kiyokawa in particular - is it a major taboo to order only one small dish?

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  1. I don't believe this will be an issue.

    But lets say you do offend the chef. So what? Are you there to eat? Or make friends?

    4 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      I've always believed that it's a bad idea to to anger anyone preparing something you're going to eat., but that's just me.

      1. re: eeka

        I believe that the OP should order thus... "I'll have the soup to start and then see what else I might want." That will take care of any issues that might arise due to your idea which is contained in the "'s a bad idea to anger anyone preparing something you're going to eat..." point.

        1. re: Servorg

          The problem with this approach is that you might end up offending the chef anyway because he might take the fact that you've only ordered the soup and nothing else as a signal that the soup was not good ...

          I would still just go in and order the soup and be up front about it. If it pisses the guy off (and I seriously doubt it will), then so be it and take your money and leave. I just can't believe in this dining atmosphere and economy that a practical restaurateur would turn away paying customers.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            Yes, but eeka was insinuating something else about what might happen to your food. If you only had soup and didn't like it I doubt strongly you'd be going back ever again in any case so offending the chef would be a moot point.

    2. You'll never know unless you ask. You may always regret it if you don't.

      1 Reply
      1. re: J.L.

        He's a really nice guy. I doubt he would get upset.

      2. That just sounds like a bad idea. If you're going to do something like order one small item, at least go with some people who will be ordering a lot more. Also, I'm not sure if that dish, a nimono item, will be on a regular menu. Reading the LAWeekly piece ( ), that dish was part of a kaiseki-type multi-course dinner, not an a la carte item. By the way, it's probably better described as a stew, rather than a soup, or just a handful of simmered vegetables, but that's a minor quibble. If it's not an item on the regular menu as I suspect, you'll have to call ahead and have it prepared for you. If you're still OK with that, give it a try. But know that it is a very awkward, and some might say rude, thing to request. If you're so interested in nimono dishes, try something like oden, or other simmered dishes at other Japanese restaurants. I would think izakayas like Musha, Bincho, among others will have something like that. And it would be more appropriate venue to eat a single dish at an izakaya, rather than a high-end sushi/kaiseki restaurant like Kiyokawa.

        Here's Kiyokawa's barely-running website:

        1 Reply
        1. re: E Eto

          I agree with E Eto that the soup is likely to be part of the kaiseki menu and not available a la carte. Also, if I were only going to order one item, I would definitely sit at a table, not at the bar and go at an odd time when you are not likely to be many other customers. I agree with E Eto that it is an awkward, and some might say rude, request.

        2. Thanks guys - I appreciate the encouragement, though I'll probably go with E Eto's suggestion and wait till I have a few people to go with. Of course I'm going there to eat and not make friends, but I don't want awkwardness vibes to ruin my (pricy?) meal.

          1. Go and order the soup. I'm sure they're used to it, and likely flattered by the attention.

            1 Reply
            1. re: cls

              Just don't order a spicy tuna roll.