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Unpleasant experience at CAGEN Sushi in East Village (former Kaijitsu space)

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UES Mayor Nov 22, 2013 04:40 AM

Decided to try Cagen after reading positve reviews of the place. I didn't realize at first I already been to that space when it was Kaijitsu which moved uptown. There was one other party in back and I waited for 3 other of my guests to arrive. Won't elaborate on the food except to say what I had was good-I'll explain my problem. After 1st course of the tasting menu I was famished and asked for a bowl of rice to tide me over between courses. I was told they didn't have rice as a side dish-so I questioned why?? Anyway I asked waitress 4 times!!! Finally they "obliged" me with a small bowl of rice which I devoured and asked for a 2nd bowl. The chef got into the act (the owner himself who was slicing the fish in front of us) and said no more rice-as if he was the rice Nazi!!! At that point I exclaimed -I'm out of here and asked for my check midway thru the omakase tasting. My guests elected to stay which is fine with me but why would I put up with such a response especially when paying top dollar!! I never will go back to this business, not because of the food but because being treated in that manner is unacceptable for my dollar.

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    pbjluver RE: UES Mayor Nov 22, 2013 05:36 AM

    How long was it between courses?

    You should have been thankful that you received the 1st bowl of rice. Asking for a 2nd bowl was demanding. You come across as a spoiled, entitled person and when you did not get what you wanted you stormed out. Very impertinent. I bet the 3 other guests were embarrassed...I would be if I was was there.

    13 Replies
    1. re: pbjluver
      loratliff RE: pbjluver Nov 22, 2013 05:49 AM

      This. Perhaps they only prepare enough rice for service that night and were concerned about running out? No restaurant is obligated to serve you something that isn't on their menu just because they have it.

      The customer is not always right.

      1. re: loratliff
        MVNYC RE: loratliff Nov 22, 2013 07:32 AM

        I agree 100%.

        1. re: loratliff
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          UES Mayor RE: loratliff Nov 22, 2013 08:35 AM

          Rice takes 20 minutes-tops-to prepare.

          1. re: UES Mayor
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            pbjluver RE: UES Mayor Nov 22, 2013 08:41 AM

            How long was it between courses?

            Would you have happily waited the 20 minutes it takes to prepare more rice?

            1. re: pbjluver
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              UES Mayor RE: pbjluver Nov 22, 2013 11:54 AM

              I was well aware that I was dining in a sushi restaurant where rice is already cooked waiting to be served. I saw with my own eyes the large amount of already cooked rice! The chef simply didn't want me to have a supplement served to me for reasons beyond my knowledge. You don't and should not expect that each serving of rice is prepared to order. It's rice!! Not duck ala orange.

            2. re: UES Mayor
              loratliff RE: UES Mayor Nov 22, 2013 09:41 AM

              That doesn't mean that they have a limitless supply.

              1. re: UES Mayor
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                Shirang RE: UES Mayor Nov 22, 2013 09:53 AM

                37 minutes on my high end sharp IH copper rice cooker in regular mode, 20 on quick mode, but doesnt taste as good.

            3. re: pbjluver
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              UES Mayor RE: pbjluver Nov 22, 2013 07:59 AM

              The other 3-one of which is a nephew stayed but texted me to say the chef was wrong to not have obliged. I wasn't behaving in a "spoiled brat" way of any sorts. It certainly was or should not have been a matter of having enough rice for the evening-we were the only party there at that time-the only other party that was there when I came had already eaten. Like I said, the food I did have was fine-I just happened to be starving from waiting for guests to arrive and the initial bowl of rice was so small! I also am not one to feel or act entitled-to suggest so is wrong. I am a very well behaved ues mayor-I only get unrully when something as ridiculous as this happens!!

              1. re: pbjluver
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                UES Mayor RE: pbjluver Nov 22, 2013 08:08 AM

                Why would you say asking for a 2nd bowl was demanding? If you want a 2nd serving of anything you ask for it? And I pay for it! I wasn't expecting it for free!! That would be demanding!

                1. re: UES Mayor
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                  Pookipichu RE: UES Mayor Nov 22, 2013 08:34 AM

                  I don't think asking for rice was being unreasonable, the restaurant is in the business of hospitality. They should try to accommodate where possible. It's not like you asked for their first-born. I was at a 4 star restaurant for a special occasion and the room was too hot for my bf who started sweating profusely and took off his jacket. When the jacket came off the head waiter rushed over and told him that his jacket must stay on, heedless of the sweat, the warmth of the room or any concern about us as guests. That was only one part of a horrible experience there.

                  They should have realized that UES Mayor was hungry from his request for rice, it was really poor manners not only to refuse rice but to also ignore his obvious hunger.

                  1. re: Pookipichu
                    loratliff RE: Pookipichu Nov 22, 2013 09:43 AM

                    It was wrong to "ignore his obvious hunger"? It's a restaurant; he was going to get fed. UES Mayor isn't a 2-year-old (although his actions may suggest otherwise) and the restaurant was not his babysitter.

                    1. re: loratliff
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                      Pookipichu RE: loratliff Nov 22, 2013 10:11 AM

                      If I had a guest that was really hungry I'd try to figure things out, I'd like my guests to be happy and comfortable, I really don't think it was a big deal for him to request more rice. Maybe it's a Chinese thing, but a guest requesting lots of rice means that I didn't provide enough food and I wouldn't be upset with the guest, I'd be upset with myself.

                      1. re: Pookipichu
                        BrookBoy RE: Pookipichu Nov 23, 2013 12:01 PM

                        Sorry, but I don't think this equates at all with your example of the hypothetical guest in your home who is hungry and requests more food.

                        From Wikipedia:

                        'Omakase (お任せ o-makase?) is a Japanese phrase that means "I'll leave it to you" (from Japanese "to entrust" (任せる makaseru?)). In Japan it can be used at any restaurant.'

                        The same reference also states: "In American English, the expression is used at sushi restaurants to leave the selection to the chef."

                        The idea of an omakase meal is that you leave it entirely to the chef, not that you demand other food whenever the mood strikes you. If you want a particular dish or food on demand, then you should order a la carte.

                        The OP stated that he had ordered an omakase meal. If the OP was so ravenously hungry that he just couldn't stand the wait between courses, then he ordered the wrong thing. I don't see how that's the restaurant's fault.

                        And according to his own description of the incident, he didn't simply request more food, he *demanded* (four times!) to know why they didn't have rice as a side dish. Even after they accommodated his demand for rice on the side he demanded a second helping.

                        And when he didn't get his way he demanded his bill and left in the middle of the meal. That's his own description.

                        You may feel differently, but if I had a guest like that in my house, I'd be happy if he left. In fact, I like to think I'd invite him to leave if that's the way he wants to behave.

              2. t
                thegforceny RE: UES Mayor Nov 22, 2013 06:28 AM

                The fact that your friends stayed speaks volumes. They are your FRIENDS and chose to side with the chef, a stranger, and not you.

                2 Replies
                1. re: thegforceny
                  loratliff RE: thegforceny Nov 22, 2013 06:57 AM

                  That's true. I might go check it out, since even the OP says what he had was good.

                  1. re: thegforceny
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                    UES Mayor RE: thegforceny Nov 22, 2013 08:02 AM

                    They didn't side w chef-they were just hungry and texted me later to say how wrong chef was.

                  2. Monica RE: UES Mayor Nov 22, 2013 06:40 AM

                    you keep mentioning top dollars and my dollars..but there are a lot of things money alone can't buy.
                    I am sure this will get deleted but...

                    1. BrookBoy RE: UES Mayor Nov 22, 2013 06:54 AM

                      I applaud your courage in posting your anecdote. If it isn't a put-on, it's certainly a description of someone who was demanding and unreasonable to the point of being childish. Good thing you decided never to return. I'm sure the restaurant (and perhaps your unfortunate friends) are in full agreement.

                      1. MVNYC RE: UES Mayor Nov 22, 2013 07:56 AM

                        So basically they did not acquiesce to your demands and you decided to take you toys and go home. This also entitled you to go online and slam a business where multiple people rely on for their living. Now when people search online they will be presented with your headline. Congrats!!!!

                        1. i
                          Isolda RE: UES Mayor Nov 22, 2013 07:57 AM

                          Money doesn't buy the right to be rude, and I guess it doesn't buy manners either.

                          1. a
                            Avie17 RE: UES Mayor Nov 22, 2013 08:10 AM

                            God like that's so against your rights! You could totally like sue them or something for giving you like issues.
                            ;)

                            1. f
                              foodiemom10583 RE: UES Mayor Nov 22, 2013 09:21 AM

                              I think they should have offered you an alternative to the rice if indeed their cooked rice supply was limited. I'm kind of shocked that a restaurant, part of a global service-related industry, refused to feed a paying individual when he was obviously hungry and willing to pay for the food.

                              It reminded me of being home for dinner back in the day and having my mom tell me, "Don't eat anything now, it'll spoil your appetite." I would expect that there. I wouldn't dream of asking for additional food if I were a guest at another person's house for dinner. However, if I were a patron of a restaurant and I expressed the degree of my hunger to the chef and he refused to serve me, I would probably walk out after settling my portion of the bill.

                              1. janethepain RE: UES Mayor Nov 22, 2013 01:30 PM

                                I don't get it though, if you were that hungry, why not order a dish or app off the menu while you were waiting for the other guests? Wouldn't it be like going to a burger place and asking for extra buns to fill you up?

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: janethepain
                                  Monica RE: janethepain Nov 22, 2013 01:36 PM

                                  haha, I just think it's a bit strange to order 2 bowls of rice at a sushi joint...i mean, it's not like he ordered a salty stew at a Korean restaurant. Also, to barge out like that leaving your friends does seem a bit immature.

                                  At the same time, it's also strange for a restaurant to give him a hard time like that. If they didn't want to serve him rice, they should have explained why in a nice manner in the beginning when he first requested it.

                                  1. re: Monica
                                    loratliff RE: Monica Nov 22, 2013 01:43 PM

                                    They explained why: "they don't have rice as a side dish," and then he proceeded to hound the server (four times, as he says) until they finally gave him some rice.

                                    I mean, Per Se could probably make me a PB&J but that doesn't mean I'm entitled to it.

                                    1. re: loratliff
                                      ipsedixit RE: loratliff Nov 22, 2013 02:12 PM

                                      Right.

                                      In many ways this would be like going to a Broadway show and during the intermission asking the actors to do an impromptu version of "Who's on First" by Abbott & Costello because the person was board given how long those intermissions can be.

                                      Just because they can doesn't mean they should, or will.

                                    2. re: Monica
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                                      foodwhisperer RE: Monica Nov 22, 2013 07:26 PM

                                      Well talk about strange. A few years back an Italian friend of mine went with me ( and others) to a Japanese restaurant. He had never had sushi and never been to a Japanese restaurant. My friend was really hungry. He was getting upset that they didn't put bread on the table while we waited for the food. He asked the waitress for bread, he asked the bus boy for bread. He called the manager and complained that how can they not serve bread. We all thought it was hilarious btw.
                                      The expression on his face that he couldn't get bread in a restaurant just baffled him.

                                  2. Ttrockwood RE: UES Mayor Nov 22, 2013 01:38 PM

                                    Sounds like a perfect example of "hangry"

                                    1. MVNYC RE: UES Mayor Nov 22, 2013 02:17 PM

                                      I had an unpleasant experience reading this thread

                                      1. LA Buckeye Fan RE: UES Mayor Nov 22, 2013 02:38 PM

                                        I think it was a bit pushy, after you heard and saw their response to the first order, you pushed for a second, That was rude.

                                        1. u
                                          UES Mayor RE: UES Mayor Nov 23, 2013 05:34 AM

                                          So last night I went to Momofuko's Noodle Bar with same guests (who incidentlly told me they left shortly after I did from Cagen) and asked for a bowl of rice with my appetizers. Waiter said :you can have 10 bowls!!! Only a dollar each. Well done!!!! What a refreshing change of pace.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: UES Mayor
                                            BrookBoy RE: UES Mayor Nov 23, 2013 12:09 PM

                                            You ordered appetizers and rice at Momofuko's. That's not the same thing as ordering omakase and then demanding extra food be included. I think your comparison is not valid.

                                            1. re: UES Mayor
                                              Ttrockwood RE: UES Mayor Nov 23, 2013 01:33 PM

                                              Your rice cravings mystify me..... Perhaps and afternoon snack would help your ohmygodimstarving issues at dinner

                                            2. Miss Needle RE: UES Mayor Nov 23, 2013 06:12 AM

                                              I'll probably regret getting involved in this thread but I can understand why the chef was reluctant to give you some rice. You only had one course then started asking for rice. I've never been to (or even heard of) Cagen and I may be wrong but it sounds like it's one of those tasting menus with at least 10 courses where the progression of the meal is carefully thought out. These type of restaurants typically start off with a bit of sashimi (the lighter stuff), progressing in size til you end with either rolls, rice, noodles (carb-heavy stuff). The chef probably didn't want you to fill yourself up in the beginning to the point you wouldn't be able to finish the meal. At omakases (and I understand that this is more of a tasting menu than omakase) I've been to the chef has always asked me whether I wanted more to eat at the end of the meal. So I think he was concerned more about your enjoyment than being the rice nazi. Guess it backfired on his part because you ended up leaving.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Miss Needle
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                                                UES Mayor RE: Miss Needle Nov 23, 2013 06:33 AM

                                                Miss Needle-you are 100% correct in situation. The whole thing should never have happened had chef accomodated my wishes after I told him and 3 waitresses of my extreme hunger and desire to have a bowl of rice to accompany my first 2 courses of tasting menu. I did not expect scoldings nor ignoring my simple request of a simple bowl of rice and a 2nd serving of it since first was so tiny! Mind you, I was dealt with in a very stern scolding way-not a joking explanatory way! THAT is what prompted me to leave.

                                                1. re: UES Mayor
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                                                  pbjluver RE: UES Mayor Nov 23, 2013 07:41 AM

                                                  Hopefully, if you continue to be a very good boy, Santa will bring you a rice cooker for Christmas. That way you can fill up on all the rice you desire before you go out to eat and that should eliminate your extreme hunger.

                                                  1. re: UES Mayor
                                                    BrookBoy RE: UES Mayor Nov 23, 2013 12:05 PM

                                                    Just curious:

                                                    Do you know the difference between omakase and a la carte?

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                                                  AubWah RE: UES Mayor Nov 23, 2013 08:15 AM

                                                  You should file a lawsuit

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: AubWah
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                                                    UES Mayor RE: AubWah Nov 23, 2013 08:43 AM

                                                    Against who? pbjluver? For thinking I believe in Santa? Besides I already own a rice cooker.

                                                  2. coasts RE: UES Mayor Nov 23, 2013 06:03 PM

                                                    i proposed to my now-wife in this space. i hope our proverbial rice bowl will always be full.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: coasts
                                                      ipsedixit RE: coasts Nov 23, 2013 06:33 PM

                                                      That's a quick turnaround.

                                                      Hasn't Cagen been only open for about 3 months?

                                                      Congratulations, nonetheless.

                                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                                        coasts RE: ipsedixit Nov 23, 2013 06:41 PM

                                                        when it was Kajitsu!

                                                        1. re: coasts
                                                          ipsedixit RE: coasts Nov 23, 2013 06:44 PM

                                                          Gotcha!

                                                    2. u
                                                      Uncle Yabai RE: UES Mayor Nov 23, 2013 10:22 PM

                                                      I don't know what's it like in the UES, but I know a number of sushi restaurants that not only would have not served you the rice, they would probably have asked you to leave.

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                                                        pauliface RE: UES Mayor Nov 24, 2013 09:38 AM

                                                        In general I think it's unwise to start a Japanese omakase meal famished, especially at a place you don't know. Portions are often small and pacing can be slow.

                                                        I often have a late afternoon snack before such a meal if I'm afraid of starting off too hungry.

                                                        1. v
                                                          villainx RE: UES Mayor Nov 24, 2013 06:02 PM

                                                          I don't see what's the harm in requesting and being provided rice, assuming the guest accepts the charge for it. It's a restaurant.

                                                          If it's a full on Japanese place, perhaps there was a language/cultural issue, but it seems a small request.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: villainx
                                                            ipsedixit RE: villainx Nov 24, 2013 06:23 PM

                                                            Cagen is kappo ryori style.

                                                            There's a rhythm and balance to a kappo ryori meal that, if you're the chef, would be thrown out of whack with unplanned, interrupted courses or impromptu requests.

                                                            We are most definitely not talking about Benihana in this case.

                                                            A person may or may not enjoy a kappo ryori meal, but just because a person does not, or cannot appreciate, such high-end Japanese fare does not necessarily entitle a person to critique the very quiddity of that style as overly restrictive.

                                                          2. Tripeler RE: UES Mayor Nov 24, 2013 06:45 PM

                                                            So, UES Mayor, have they become "ii-cagen"?

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Tripeler
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                                                              UES Mayor RE: Tripeler Nov 25, 2013 04:52 AM

                                                              Bottom line-I left because of the way chef scolded me -in front of 2 newly arriving guest, and yes I was a little bit annoyed anyway since the restaurant was not busy at all. There were 4 waitresses standing around us a sushi bar and we were the only ones dining. The only other couple in back were already done with their meal. I was in no sense of the word rude or demanding as some of you hinted at.Simply providing for my needs would not have broken the rhythm of the chef's work. If it did, he shouldn't be a chef in NYC. As I already stated, the small amount of food I did start with before I requested my bowl of rice was fine. The issue is simple-when a paying guest at a restaurant requests something, AND ESPECIALLY if you have it in house-just serve it! I never expect things to be FREE!!

                                                            2. Monica RE: UES Mayor Nov 25, 2013 06:52 AM

                                                              I gotta say, this is the funniest thread in the Manhattan section. I don't know UES Mayor nor do I enjoy him getting negative comments but I just find the thread and some of the comments very funny.
                                                              Especially because I find most of the threads on Manhattan section very dry and cut throat.

                                                              17 Replies
                                                              1. re: Monica
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                                                                UES Mayor RE: Monica Nov 25, 2013 06:59 AM

                                                                Thanks Monica-you are so kind with your words. People can be brutal especially when they were not present. You know what I learned from this? I think this is a great example of why the judicial system w a jury present is a great one. It allows all the nuances to be presented to an open court-not trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill, but you get the drift. I am, if I can say, a very polite person who dines out 7 days a week to many of the same restaurants. Waitstaff always welcome me back due in part to the fact that I treat everyone w care and respect. Some folks on this board have made me out to be a monster! Anyway, I am so glad I was able to provide some comic relief. It really sounded like a Seinfeld episode!!!!

                                                                1. re: UES Mayor
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                                                                  foodiemom10583 RE: UES Mayor Nov 25, 2013 07:31 AM

                                                                  Or maybe an episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Maybe tonight you should try some Palestinian Chicken. ;)

                                                                  1. re: UES Mayor
                                                                    ipsedixit RE: UES Mayor Nov 25, 2013 08:15 AM

                                                                    You know what I learned from this? I think this is a great example of why the judicial system w a jury present is a great one.
                                                                    _____________________

                                                                    Knowing the judicial system the way I do, and knowing juries better than I really wish I did, I'd say you'd get convicted. Heck, it might not even reach the jury, the judge might just enter a directed verdict.

                                                                    In fact, if I was your lawyer, I'd advise you to take the plea bargain. Like yesterday.

                                                                    1. re: UES Mayor
                                                                      chowser RE: UES Mayor Nov 25, 2013 08:52 AM

                                                                      "Some folks on this board have made me out to be a monster"

                                                                      I don't think you're a monster but ignorant of what omakase and tasting menus are vs. ordering off a menu. It reminds me of my mom when a famous artist gave her a painting. My mom didn't think painting was quite right so she took her own brush to it and told the artist how she made it much better and then she couldn't understand why it bothered him so much. She was very polite about it.

                                                                      1. re: UES Mayor
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                                                                        gramercyfoodie RE: UES Mayor Dec 1, 2013 10:45 PM

                                                                        I can attest that the UES Mayor is an awesome dinner companion and guest in a restaurant. Bottom line: If you want to charge $275/pp for omakase you damn well have excellent customer service. Sorry.

                                                                        1. re: gramercyfoodie
                                                                          Wilfrid RE: gramercyfoodie Dec 2, 2013 08:01 AM

                                                                          Are you saying Cagen charges $275pp? That doesn't look right.

                                                                          1. re: Wilfrid
                                                                            ipsedixit RE: Wilfrid Dec 2, 2013 08:04 AM

                                                                            Maybe that includes the "extra rice" surcharge.

                                                                            1. re: Wilfrid
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                                                                              lexismore RE: Wilfrid Dec 2, 2013 09:09 AM

                                                                              Their website lists a "Seasonal" and "Cagen" tasting menu, priced at $45 and $120 respectively.

                                                                              1. re: lexismore
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                                                                                UES Mayor RE: lexismore Dec 2, 2013 11:46 AM

                                                                                I left after my first 2 courses were serve-because they were very tiny portions, albeit good, that's when I ordered a bowl of rice. They charged me $42 for what I already consumed-I was fine w that. Nephew and friend's bill (w drinks) came out to $249 each (they had split bill amongst 3 of them cause the 3rd person was poor). For prices like that-well they should have thrown in 10 bowls of rice for free!

                                                                                1. re: UES Mayor
                                                                                  Monica RE: UES Mayor Dec 2, 2013 11:52 AM

                                                                                  LOL, I wish I was your secret Santa for the year. I would buy a case of precooked rice packages.

                                                                                  1. re: UES Mayor
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                                                                                    pauliface RE: UES Mayor Dec 2, 2013 12:17 PM

                                                                                    Do I have this right? The bill was $249 each split two ways. Meaning a total of $498 for 3 people, including drinks? So now we are down to $166 per person, including drinks, yes?
                                                                                    I presume this included tax but not tip?

                                                                                    So now it's roughly $154 per person for omakase, including drinks, which is a far cry from $275 excluding drinks.

                                                                                    How much did you spend on drinks?

                                                                                    1. re: pauliface
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                                                                                      foodiemom10583 RE: pauliface Dec 2, 2013 02:04 PM

                                                                                      I'm sorry to butt in, but the $275 figure does not appear to have been mentioned by the OP. It was brought up by another CHer.

                                                                                      1. re: foodiemom10583
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                                                                                        pauliface RE: foodiemom10583 Dec 2, 2013 02:35 PM

                                                                                        Well yes, but the other poster needs to be corrected if s/he is off by nearly 100% on the price.

                                                                                        1. re: pauliface
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                                                                                          foodiemom10583 RE: pauliface Dec 2, 2013 02:46 PM

                                                                                          Definitely. I was confused as well.

                                                                                    2. re: UES Mayor
                                                                                      chowser RE: UES Mayor Dec 2, 2013 05:10 PM

                                                                                      "they were very tiny portions, "

                                                                                      Have you ever had a tasting menu or omakase before?

                                                                                      1. re: chowser
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                                                                                        UES Mayor RE: chowser Dec 3, 2013 04:29 AM

                                                                                        Only a million times-point is I was hungry-very hungry-Why the questions about me having omakase before??? If someone wants something that they PAY for-why questions it??? You are splitting hairs at this point.

                                                                                        1. re: UES Mayor
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                                                                                          tex.s.toast RE: UES Mayor Dec 3, 2013 08:14 AM

                                                                                          You're missing half the transaction: "someone wants something that they PAY for" AND someone who wants to sell it sells it to them. You had a disagreement over their willingness to provide you something you wanted, and it was resolved by you leaving.

                                                                                          I think that the most reasonable solution would have been for you to find a willing vendor for a snack before sitting down for your meal (like a hot dog or slice).

                                                                          2. c
                                                                            calf RE: UES Mayor Nov 25, 2013 12:04 PM

                                                                            Yeah… I bet if you had requested an expensive side dish they would have happily obliged. It's all about money, and they handled the situation wrong.

                                                                            I think you were being a little bold to "question" the waitress, that's called being pushy, and that's not something that computes well in Japanese culture. But still that doesn't excuse the restaurant for being so rigid.

                                                                            1. k
                                                                              KathyM RE: UES Mayor Nov 26, 2013 02:31 AM

                                                                              UES Mayor, not to pile on the hate here, but I'm really curious, have you been to other very traditional Japanese restaurants? Because if you have, you'd know that certain rigidity and respect for a respected chef is involved which is a major part of the culture, as implied here by Ipse's point about kappo riori.

                                                                              But my real question is, has anyone else been here? I'll be visiting to NYC soon and I'm researching for a kaiseki place. Does anyone know if it's just a tasting menu or if it's truly a kaiseki place?

                                                                              13 Replies
                                                                              1. re: KathyM
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                                                                                kathryn RE: KathyM Nov 26, 2013 06:45 AM

                                                                                Does your list include Kyo Ya? It is excellent.

                                                                                1. re: KathyM
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                                                                                  pauliface RE: KathyM Nov 26, 2013 07:13 AM

                                                                                  As for other Kaiseki places:

                                                                                  People rave about Kyo-ya but I have not been.

                                                                                  I have been going to Sugiyama for years and I absolutely love it.

                                                                                  1. re: pauliface
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                                                                                    peter j RE: pauliface Dec 2, 2013 02:21 PM

                                                                                    Second Sugiyama. It's great.

                                                                                  2. re: KathyM
                                                                                    k
                                                                                    KathyM RE: KathyM Nov 26, 2013 09:23 PM

                                                                                    kathryn and pauliface, thanks very much for the kaiseki recs. I usually only have about 3-4 meals to dream/plan about for my annual trip in NYC so I have lots of places to consider. BTW, you're both on top of my list of people of who I admire on CH.

                                                                                    1. re: KathyM
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                                                                                      UES Mayor RE: KathyM Nov 27, 2013 03:09 AM

                                                                                      I eat out every night w nephew and sometimes his friend who both are chef's (line cooks) for one of the biggest name restaurants here in the city. We generally dine out 75% of the time at higher end Japanese restaurants so we covered most of them here in the city. Our favorites include Kyo Ya, Hirohisa, Kaijitsu and not exactlt kaiseki but pretty close-the 18th Street branch of Ootoya. At every single place we go to, a simple request as being discussed is never an issue. That's the ridiculous thing about this whole incident. I am Asian myself-and am very familiar w Asian cultures and "respect" for the chef , blah blah, blah-BUT-as a paying customer this issue should have been a non issue!!

                                                                                      1. re: UES Mayor
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                                                                                        Shirang RE: UES Mayor Nov 27, 2013 06:09 AM

                                                                                        >not exactlt kaiseki but pretty close-the 18th Street branch of Ootoya

                                                                                        おもしろい!!!!!

                                                                                        1. re: Shirang
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                                                                                          pauliface RE: Shirang Nov 27, 2013 06:57 AM

                                                                                          Wow! Ootoya looks great!
                                                                                          Thanks for the tip.

                                                                                          1. re: pauliface
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                                                                                            Lau RE: pauliface Nov 27, 2013 07:22 AM

                                                                                            generally the food at ootoya is pretty good, but not amazing. However, the one thing they excel at is grilled fish. Their saba shio is probably the best ive had in NY

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                                                                                              UES Mayor RE: Lau Nov 27, 2013 07:46 AM

                                                                                              And the Shio kara at Ootaya is great-and they give you ALL THE RICE you want!!!-lol

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                                                                                          prasantrin RE: UES Mayor Dec 2, 2013 08:48 AM

                                                                                          As a line cook "for one of the biggest name restaurants" in NYC, how does your nephew get the time off to eat out with you every night? something does not compute...

                                                                                          Uncle Yabai and I come from the same school of dining at Japanese restaurants. Hope you never have the misfortune of actually visiting Japan and dining at high-end Japanese restaurants. You will be very disappointed by the service, especially since you will not be the centre of the universe at any of them.

                                                                                          1. re: prasantrin
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                                                                                            UES Mayor RE: prasantrin Dec 3, 2013 04:36 AM

                                                                                            He does lunch service -him and his co-workers. My nephew was just asked to be sous chef which might make him work night shifts. I didn't want to distract from the topic by mentioning the place he works at because it is one on the most famous places w an extremely popular/famous chef who has at least 6 different higher end restaurants and just want to keep that part annonymous. Why doesn't it compute? Did you forget get people eat breakfast and lunch as well?? Seems you are trying to cross examine me-this is not a murder case!

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                                                                                            mitchleeny RE: UES Mayor Dec 2, 2013 09:07 AM

                                                                                            If your nephew and friend are both line cooks, they're cooks, not chefs.

                                                                                            I would've gladly shown you the door after you asked for a bowl of rice during an omakase dinner. The rudeness came from you.

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                                                                                              UES Mayor RE: mitchleeny Dec 3, 2013 04:38 AM

                                                                                              Mitchleeny-you are the most wonderful host!! Shown me the door? It wasn't a state dinner for crying out loud!!!

                                                                                        3. DarthEater RE: UES Mayor Nov 26, 2013 07:23 AM

                                                                                          I know you were hungry, but hasn't age taught you a bit of patience?

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                                                                                          1. re: DarthEater
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                                                                                            UES Mayor RE: DarthEater Nov 27, 2013 03:11 AM

                                                                                            DarthEater-after waiting 15-20 minutes for a bowl of rice-my patience runs thin. That's how long it took to get 1st bowl!!! And mind you, we were the only party being served at that hour!! The only other couple in back were already done w dinner.

                                                                                            1. re: UES Mayor
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                                                                                              villainx RE: UES Mayor Nov 27, 2013 06:54 AM

                                                                                              I don't understand the instantaneous and harsh criticism overall. Especially as for folks on this board, your posts come up often enough to suggest an above average dinner and a good rep.

                                                                                              I more or less agree with you. Give the paying customer the charged for supplement he or she wants, especially if it isn't especially inconvenient. However, for the sake of discussion, would you compare this issue with going to Del Posto for the tasting menu and requesting side plates of spaghetti? It's a little tough because most places have bread service and can toss that to your table without much trouble. I think rice's prominence is difference from bread.

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                                                                                                calf RE: villainx Nov 28, 2013 12:54 AM

                                                                                                Good point, because if you ask some sushi chefs, sushi *is*, in essence, the rice. So when you ask for "just" a bowl of rice…

                                                                                              2. re: UES Mayor
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                                                                                                prasantrin RE: UES Mayor Dec 2, 2013 01:50 PM

                                                                                                But you didn't order rice and then wait 15-20 minutes for it. You asked, and were refused. Then over a 15-20 minute period, you repeatedly demanded a bowl of rice, even though you were told no. They finally brought you one, and then you demanded another one.

                                                                                                That has nothing to do with how many people were still being served (or not being served). I wasn't there, but judging by the tone of your original post, the service you received was a reflection of your treatment of the staff.

                                                                                                And who eats a bowl of sushi rice on its own? I don't know a single restaurant that would offer a plain bowl of sushi rice. Come to think of it, the only ppl I know who eat plain bowls of regular rice are North Americans (though they usually add some soy sauce to it) and our maids.

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                                                                                                  foodiemom10583 RE: prasantrin Dec 2, 2013 02:08 PM

                                                                                                  "Come to think of it, the only ppl I know who eat plain bowls of regular rice are North Americans (though they usually add some soy sauce to it) and our maids."

                                                                                                  I am sure you did not intend for the quote above to sound as condescending as it does.

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                                                                                                    prasantrin RE: foodiemom10583 Dec 2, 2013 02:38 PM

                                                                                                    we must have different definitions of "condescending". I can see it as being offensive to some, but since I was speaking from my experience (and no one else's), it was simply a statement of fact (to repeat--based on my experience). I don't know anyone who eats plain bowls of rice with absolutely no accompaniments other than the people I've mentioned above (come to think of it, some of my North American friends add butter to rice, not just soy sauce).

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                                                                                                      foodiemom10583 RE: prasantrin Dec 2, 2013 02:59 PM

                                                                                                      I also do not know of many people who will choose to eat a plain bowl of rice, but the OP has stated that he has some blood sugar issues. In that case, I can see where a simple, easily digestible starch like white rice may help his sugar to balance more quickly.

                                                                                                      I did take issue to the introduction of social status into the argument with your mention of "maids." Sorry, that was my gut reaction.

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                                                                                                        Simon RE: foodiemom10583 Dec 2, 2013 03:19 PM

                                                                                                        this thread is the gift that keeps on giving, humor-wise...let's make sure to revive it every year like the Charlie Brown Christmas Special...

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                                                                                                          prasantrin RE: Simon Dec 2, 2013 03:52 PM

                                                                                                          I could have said "North Americans and poor people". That would've been even better, huh? :-D

                                                                                                          (people from countries with very strong divisions in socio-economic classes generally have no problems talking in these terms)

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                                                                                                            Simon RE: prasantrin Dec 2, 2013 04:09 PM

                                                                                                            prasantrin, i wasn't refering to your comment (which i have no issue with :) -- i was just being amused by the thread as a whole and posted off your reply since it was the mostrecent comment in the thread i read...cheers...

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                                                                                                            foodiemom10583 RE: Simon Dec 2, 2013 04:07 PM

                                                                                                            Right now, I see it as more of "How the Elitist Grinches Stole Christmas from the Poor People."

                                                                                                            ;p

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                                                                                                              UES Mayor RE: Simon Dec 3, 2013 11:53 AM

                                                                                                              I will be sure to start another one similar to this next holiday season! Btw my nephew suggest we all go back to Cagen and order only rice.

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                                                                                                        UES Mayor RE: prasantrin Dec 3, 2013 04:42 AM

                                                                                                        You and several others keep saying I demanded-I asked politely!!! I never demanded nor said I did!!! I asked in a very quiet tone and only questioned a few more times because I could not believe there was no rice in the house-I was in a Japanese sushi bar!!!

                                                                                                  2. jon RE: UES Mayor Dec 2, 2013 07:46 AM

                                                                                                    we ordered chinese food from our local place yesterday and got a big quart of white rice. my 18 month old daughter could not stop eating it; she was shoving mounds of rice into her mouth. all i could think about was this thread.

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                                                                                                    1. re: jon
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                                                                                                      UES Mayor RE: jon Dec 2, 2013 12:11 PM

                                                                                                      I aim to please!

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                                                                                                      Daniel76 RE: UES Mayor Dec 2, 2013 10:05 AM

                                                                                                      I am just so confused. Is this a medical condition that you have? Is it low blood sugar, or diabetes or some type of Hypoglycemia.

                                                                                                      What happened to the rest of your courses once you stormed out. I am assuming you paid for the entire meal. Did your eating partner, just take on the rest of your courses.

                                                                                                      What did you do when you left? Did you quickly run to the nearest Chinese Take out spot and get rice. Where did you eat after there?

                                                                                                      Thanks.. This is really fascinating to me.

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                                                                                                      1. re: Daniel76
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                                                                                                        UES Mayor RE: Daniel76 Dec 2, 2013 11:50 AM

                                                                                                        I always have had hypoglycemic spurts since I was born. That day was particularly bad since I had a hard workout. As far as what happed after, see above in different thread. I went home and had rice cakes. Was a much cheaper evening after all that drama.

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                                                                                                          Daniel76 RE: UES Mayor Dec 2, 2013 12:03 PM

                                                                                                          rice cakes are always going to be a cheaper option.

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                                                                                                            UES Mayor RE: Daniel76 Dec 2, 2013 12:13 PM

                                                                                                            It should never be questioned by a restaurant if you are paying and item is available. I would never order rice in a sandwich shop-but in a Japanese sushi house??? You get my point.

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                                                                                                              Wilfrid RE: UES Mayor Dec 2, 2013 02:09 PM

                                                                                                              I'm sure you'd say that if you ordered a tasting menu in a "Western restaurant," then wanted a portion of potatoes after the amuse--even though there are potatoes with the entree--the restaurant should accommodate you.

                                                                                                              Maybe so, but I think you should also consider whether such a request might be seen as strange.

                                                                                                              1. re: UES Mayor
                                                                                                                loratliff RE: UES Mayor Dec 2, 2013 05:41 PM

                                                                                                                With this attitude, I have a hard time believing that your nephew is a line cook for one of the best restaurants in the city. It just shows so much disrespect for people in the service industry. My SO works for a Michelin-starred restaurant here (not BOH though) and OF COURSE they can question or deny a request for any reason. It's silly to suggest otherwise.

                                                                                                                Like I said in another post, just because a restaurant has an item doesn't mean they're obligated to serve it to you, not matter how much you're willing to pay.

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                                                                                                                  pauliface RE: loratliff Dec 2, 2013 06:06 PM

                                                                                                                  There used to be a local restaurant here in SF run by a Mom&Pop couple. They were known for being a touch quirky.

                                                                                                                  One night I went with a friend. We had reserved seats at the bar and an omakase dinner ahead of time. A couple entered shortly after us and asked to be seated at the counter. I was surprised when Mom sat them there, because I'd heard stories of people being denied open seats at the counter if they had not set it up ahead of time, even if nobody had reserved them.

                                                                                                                  So good for the lucky couple!

                                                                                                                  Our meal was already underway when Mom asked the couple if they'd also like omakase. The couple said no, they wanted to see a menu. You could see Mom's smile snap shut and visibly see her emotionally cutting them off as they carefully pored over their choices.

                                                                                                                  We proceeded to get a glorious parade of dishes as they received their tuna rolls or whatever, and then at the end of the meal Mom brought us out two lovely little desserts.

                                                                                                                  The couple next to us pointed at what we were eating and asked if they could also order that for dessert. Mom said to them, simply "We don't have that."

                                                                                                                2. re: UES Mayor
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                                                                                                                  Daniel76 RE: UES Mayor Dec 3, 2013 11:25 AM

                                                                                                                  i am not sure I do get your point.

                                                                                                                  I have a question about the rice they provided you. On your first bowl of rice, was it sushi rice or just like white minute rice.

                                                                                                                  I am pretty sure, a fancy sushi place must go through a painstaking process to make their rice. I know they season it, I know they have special rice cookers.

                                                                                                                  I am sure they must make a certain amount with anticipation of the evening.

                                                                                                                  So, you speak about the fact that because it's a Japanese place and you could see the rice, you must assume, it's should be there for anyone's taking.

                                                                                                                  I personally can't really comprehend most of what occurred at this restaurant. Not only did you ask for one bowl but, after getting the idea that the restaurant didn't want you to do it, you have the audacity to ask for a second bowl.

                                                                                                                  Then to top it off, you left in the middle of the omakase with your nephew and his friend. Your nephew who you said is in the restaurant world.

                                                                                                                  Was he mortified? Embarrassed in front of the staff and his friend?

                                                                                                                  And then, you have the complete lack of awareness to understand that you were the wrong person in all of this. It's baffling.

                                                                                                                  This is truly one of those only in NY type things.. I am sure you are a very reasonable person, or maybe not, but, by your explanation of this story, is like, one of the craziest things I have heard where, someone is trying to justify their actions.

                                                                                                              2. re: UES Mayor
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                                                                                                                pauliface RE: UES Mayor Dec 2, 2013 03:30 PM

                                                                                                                It's not clear whether you felt you had a blood sugar crash on this night or whether it was just more traditional hunger.
                                                                                                                If the former, in the future you might want to consider asking for fruit juice or soda, as opposed to (or in addition to) rice, bread or carbs. Sources on line seem to indicate that this'll fix you up quicker.

                                                                                                                1. re: pauliface
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                                                                                                                  UES Mayor RE: pauliface Dec 3, 2013 04:45 AM

                                                                                                                  And ruin all the fun I had?????????????????

                                                                                                            2. TeRReT RE: UES Mayor Dec 3, 2013 05:09 AM

                                                                                                              There are two types of restaurants. The first, you control your dining experience and they do anything to make you happy. The other, you experience the artistry of the chef and forfeit control of the meal.

                                                                                                              Most omakase will be in the latter category.

                                                                                                              You are not paying money to get anything you want, you are paying for a unique adventure. To think you are owed whatever you want because you are flashing money around is the epitome of entitlement.

                                                                                                              If you didn't like the experience, don't return.

                                                                                                              When you politely requested rice and were turned down, you should have accepted it. No matter how you rationalize it, they have the right to turn down your request.

                                                                                                              Regardless of how much you pay, a restaurant doesn't have to do anything, they make their own policies and decisions.

                                                                                                              If you are hungry before, grab a snack before going. When you are there, just relax and enjoy the experience.

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                                                                                                              1. re: TeRReT
                                                                                                                Wilfrid RE: TeRReT Dec 3, 2013 11:01 AM

                                                                                                                I remember the good old days when restaurants were pushing bottled water to combat drought (or something), and I used to ask for an empty glass and directions to the restroom. Laugh?

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