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Awful Service at Yasuda

Ate at Yasuda last night with my friend. We arrived on time for our 6:30 reservation and were seated promptly. Our waiter seemed a little stiff from the get go, when he asked for the pre-fixe card, he seemed put out. He took our menus and the slips of paper with the specials on it... luckily I had already read what the specials were.... so we chose our sushi/sashimi combos pretty quickly, and waited for him to come back. We both ordered and I ordered a special of the day ebi maccha age, he said it's only three pieces would I like to increase it to four and I said yes.

We finished our soup and salad quickly and immediately they brought the fish. halfway during our meal, he came over and said we NEEDED to order more sushi, we didn't order enough food. He said it in a weird trying to pretend to be nice/nervously rude way. My friend and I both looked at each other in a "did that just happen" type way and told him we would order more shortly but we were still eating. I finished my fish faster than my friend and he came back to insist we order more. I ordered the softshell crab, also one of the specials (yay for memory since he hadn't brought back menu or specials slip). Then my friend finished her fish and he came back again to insist we order more. I asked he bring the menu. We looked at the menu at ordered 4 pieces of uni, 2 pieces of toro and 1 piece of eel.

The eel was the most poorly cut eel I have ever received at Sushi Yasuda. It was the size of 4 chiclets, not covering a small lump of rice. I received a beautiful piece of eel as my sushi choice earlier. One of my uni pieces started to melt 30 seconds after being set down and slid off my rice.
While we were eating, he came back and said in a brusque tone "very sorry, now we have to worry about time" in that weird smiling in the mouth but not eyes way. It was 7:18. He said either we have to order dessert now or we had to leave. I ordered mochi ice cream and the check was brought with it. I ate the mochi and my friend paid. We were out of there before 7:30. It was the rudest service I have ever experienced at Sushi Yasuda, it was the only bad service I have had there, I have never been rushed before. It was the most rushed I have ever been at any restaurant. And no the restaurant was NOT full. There were empty seats to the right and behind us. The tone of voice used and the look given was so derisive and it appalled us both. I say this with no sarcasm that apparently spending over $125 on a meal is not sufficient to be treated with cordiality at Sushi Yasuda and in return we get very good to awful cuts of fish. Whereas I used to get uniformly excellent fish with the friendliest of service.

Needless to say, we are never going back. Ever.

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  1. I hate the management at Yasuda. They have a rude uppity attitude. The last time i went, i had , as you did, awfully cut pieces.(i was at a table) I knew the chef at the time and got up to complain. The manager said I was insulting the chef and he would take care of it. Needless to say, he did not take care of it and returned with same pieces; I hate that place, and since Yasuda himself left, i would imagine the eel went downhill. I have never gone back , and never will go back. I know CH'ers think highly of this place, but i'd rather pay 100's at 15 East than get 10 free dinners at Yasuda. AMEN

    1 Reply
    1. re: foodwhisperer

      We ordered more food than we wanted, and scarfed it down, trying not to anger our waiter, which is crazy in retrospect.

    2. I hate to pile on, but where else can I tell this illuminating tale?
      I live around the corner from Yasuda, and -afficianado that I am- frequented it in the early days it opened. The hosts were always warm & welcoming, as one depends upon (or should I say 'hopes for') in a fine Japanese restaurant.
      And then, the day -the day- after they secured their stellar NYT review, it was though I were invisible when I came to dine. I mean, honestly, I could have been the cooking-oil remover-man, for as easily as they disdained me; the only thing missing was the spit on my backside as the door hit me on my way out.
      That opprobrium left a bad taste in my mouth, which angst lingers unto today.

      1. i've never been a fan of the place

        1. i actually never received poor service there. i frequent lots of japanese places (as im sure we all do) so im used to the differences in service but never received the impression that they were rude or i was being slighted if i didnt order enough.

          i once went to the table and had very mediocre quality sushi. so mediocre that i vowed never to go to the tables again. however, i recently had a lunch at the table and ordered the sushi mottsu and was super impressed by the quality and the price. my bill was around $50/person and received no services issues.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sam1

            I've never received poor service at Yasuda before, but this recent experience was bad enough that I will never go again for all the reasons detailed. We were there for 45 minutes, bullied into ordering (literally he said sorry you NEED to order more sushi, sorry) and told to order dessert or leave.

          2. That's a really shocking story. I'm sorry. My father loved Yasuda when Yasuda-san was there and before my father died, he was planning on taking me there for lunch some day. I guess I will never be going there.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Pan

              I think what made it particularly bad was that I have many good memories at Yasuda, my friend moved 3 years ago from NY and was back for the weekend so we were recreating a dinner we had at Yasuda before she moved. We both left a little shocked, walked to Bryant Park and laughed about it while catching up. "So sorry, you need to order more sushi"... or else!

            2. I remember going there with a coworker for lunch and they basically asked us we had to leave after about 45 min because people were waiting for our table. After spending $150 for lunch for two, I was a bit irritated but said ok and left.

              1. Ugh, that's really crude of the restaurant, and I think in a way disrespects food and cooking. I have to ask if Japanese people would be very turned off by such demands; I'm Asian, and my parents and relatives would be extremely offended.

                It seems to be their tactic for ensuring "revenue", and clearly they get so many customers they have no qualms about shooing out those who aren't getting them at least $1.5/minute of income.

                1. Funny, I've only been a few times at lunch (once when Yasuda himself was still there, and seated in front of him), mostly at the bar, maybe once at a table, and I've never experienced anything like this. No rush, no trying to force us to order more.... weird.

                  I'd definitely go back.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: linguafood

                    i've only been to yasuda a couple of times, and then only at the bar, so i've only had good experiences.

                    this is totally unaccetapble. given the number of places that are every bit the equal of yasuda today, i would send a polite, strongly worded letter to management, and if unsatisfied with the response, write it off for good.

                    1. re: debinqueens

                      The energy of the place has changed, I've been going since they opened and I feel like gradually, they no longer view me as a person, just a walking mouth with dollar signs.

                    2. re: linguafood

                      This was the first time I've been rushed after dining at Yasuda many times. Once was enough for me.

                      1. re: Pookipichu

                        I sat in front of Yasuda a few years back and he himself rushed us. He served us 3 pieces at a time initially and then started piling on sloppy nigiri on our plates while we still had 1-2 pieces on them still. My wife asked him to slow it down and bit and it seemed like this upset him more. Didnt even offer us a dessert menu, we were in and out in about 45 minutes.

                        1. re: Shirang

                          Fellow Singapore Chowhounder and I had a mini chowmeet there a few years back. We sat at Yasuda San's station at the corner of the counter. Had a great time!! Yasuda was cordial, talking to us all the way during the course of our 2+ hours sushi Omakase lunch. Introduced us to 'White' wild Alaskan Salmon, tiny baby octopus tentacles, Uni from 3 different places around the world and explain to us where he got his eels.
                          Pity things declined so much after he left for Japan!!

                      2. re: linguafood

                        Yeah, I'm with you - been there numerous times at lunch and dinner, always at the bar. Sat with Yasuda, and been back after his departure. Only curtness I've ever encountered has been with making the reservations. Still my favorite sushi in the city.

                        Of course that does not excuse Pookipichu's terrible experience. Sorry to hear about that.

                      3. Sorry to hear about the service. How was the food though? Or perhaps the bad service made the food forgettable?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: bearmi

                          The food was very good to bad, nothing was excellent, two pieces were terrible.

                        2. Oh that's terrible to hear, sometimes restaurants change for the worse. I'm glad that my dining experiences at Yasuda were in the distant past when the service was more genteel.

                          1. All I can say is WOW! LMFAO

                            Eyes are finally open.

                            3 Replies
                              1. Wow, what a story! At least you and your friend got to chuckle over it after the fact. But certainly not funny at the time, especially since it ain't cheap.

                                My husband and I now refer to our lunch there (back in May, I think) as the best lunch we ever had. Excellent experience - sat at the bar, nice & cordial chef who served us fantastic sushi. Not rushed at all.

                                The reservations person was far from friendly, but I was actually expecting that after reading some posts here.

                                I can't imagine being told I haven't ordered enough. Yikes.