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Two friends got quite a surprise recently when they said they were hit with an unexpected sushi bill totalling $1,100.
Chris Galletta, a Vice writer, and his friend Mat were visiting the theatre in New York when they they decided to try sushi from one of Jiro Ono’s ex-students.
The friends entered the restaurant and were ready for something special. “Not too far from the theatre, it turned out, one of Jiro’s protégés had opened his own sushi restaurant. It was supposed to be transcendent.”
“We were told Jiro's protégé Toma was actually there that night, and we should sit at the counter. Matt was giddy. The wizard himself would be making our sushi before our very eyes. Suddenly, I was bummed that we only had an hour to eat. I like sushi a lot and was prepared to do some damage.”
They feasted on a number of different dishes.
“We started with tuna, then fatty tuna. Then upped the stakes to toro. After each roll, the wait staff would remove our plates and bring new ones, along with a fresh set of hot towels. Chopsticks were discouraged and so were any dipping sauces. (Even soy sauce!) It was like being on Mars. Or perhaps like being in Japan.”
They then started on the fresh uni and said it was particularly good, they even expected the bill to be expensive, “$150” each perhaps.
“When the bill came, we took a deep breath. ‘This is going to be more expensive than the tickets,’ I joked. We opened it together, like shitty Golden Globe presenters. The bill read one-one-zero-zero. Eleven hundred. One-thousand one-hundred. $1,100. Dollars. As I mentioned, I write for a living. I didn’t have $1,100. Matt didn’t either.”
The writer, who recounted the ordeal in an article on Vice, said he was sure there was a mistake.
“My immediate reaction was that it was a misprint. ‘No, no, we need the bill in regular dollars,’ I said, assuming the number in front of me was in yen. The place was authentic, why stop at the bill? Alas, it was eleven hundred American dollars. The wait staff, to their credit, calmly pointed out that the bill was correct and what had really happened here was that the uni was ‘fresh.'”
He said the fresh uni they enjoyed were coming in at, wait for it, $100 each - high even for Jiro standards.
The bill was eventually paid on a credit card and the duo also tipped.
“Matt had a plan. ‘Here’s what we’ll do,’ he said. ‘I’ll put it all on my credit card. Then I’ll call the card company, and I’ll fight it. I’ll fight the purchase.'”
“‘Shit. We can’t not tip them.’ And of course, he was right. The service was first-rate. What’s 20 percent on top of $1,100? More than my last week’s worth of food, easily.”
What’s strange is that the writer did not say exactly which restaurant they were dining at. The famous protégé of Jiro in New York is Daisuke Nakazawa, but the description of a third-floor restaurant inside an office building given in the article does not match that of the first-floor Sushi Nakazawa.
In fact, many people in the comments of the article are claiming the story could be the work of fiction because of the vague details given on the restaurant. Also, that Toma – the name given for the student of Jiro Ono who was apparently cooking the meal – is not one of Jiro’s students.
Perhaps the writer is too embarrassed to identify the place, as one commenter suggests. Perhaps they were scammed, another write's. Perhaps we should take it as a warning to always read the menu before ordering, agrees almost everyone.
If anyone knows the restaurant they refer to in the article, let us know on in the comments on Facebook.