Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Restaurant Review: Tataki

One of the main reasons that I'm an "almost vegetarian" instead of an honest-to-goodness vegetarian is that I'm obsessed with sushi. I can't live without it. I NEED it (yes, getting a bit dramatic, I know). So, when I found out about Tataki on Yelp, I got super excited. What enviro-pescatarian wouldn't jump up and down and squeal about a sustainable sushi restaurant? I immediately jumped over to Tataki's own website, and, as if I needed more reasons to love them, their mission is as follows:

Our Mission at Tataki is simple: to showcase the beauty and delicacy of Japanese cuisine while respecting the sanctity and fragility of our environment. If we are to preserve the art of sushi, we must also safeguard the health and biodiversity of our oceans. With this in mind, we strive everyday to integrate the concept of sustainable dining into our menu options.

Yes, yes, YES! Now I only needed to actually go there and fulfill my dream of gorging myself on fully sustainable sush. The dream became a reality on a ordinary Thursday night. Having been warned the place was very small, my BF, brother (recent addition to the Bay Area population), and I showed up with our ready-to-wait pants on, and I'm sure glad we did. We were told by a very snobby host/server that it'd be at LEAST a 30 minute wait, and that we should put our name on the list and clear out. Yikes, that wasn't a very good first impression, but undeterred, we put our name down and headed next door to Solstice to have a beer (I should mention that said waiter scoffed at us when I mentioned writing down my phone # so he could call us when a table was ready, despite their being no waiting area thus requiring us to vacate the premises). Two beers and three check-ins later, we headed back to Tataki to squeeze ourselves into the sushi bar. To make a long story short, I will grade the meal on three factors:

Sustainability - A
- Seafood Watch cards everywhere, menu limited to seasonal and sustainable fisheries, press about fisheries conservation all over the walls, etc.

Food - B
- While the fish was fresh and generally good the portions were tiny and expensive for what we got. None of it was really anything to get terribly excited about.

Service - F
- If this place wasn't aggressively supporting a cause about which I feel strongly, I would have walked out. The service was abysmal. Not only was all the staff snobby and too busy for us (it's a SUSHI restaurant for goodness sake), but the service was extremely slow. I saw a roll for one poor table sit at the window for 10 MINUTES!!! before getting taken to them. Also, the waitress was constantly bumping us and twice spilled water on us without saying sorry. Finally, they tried to charge us for things we didn't order.

Sooo, needless to say, I was a little disappointed by my experience. I plan to try again on a different night of the week to see if we simply had a bad crew, but until then, I'll be taking my Seafood Watch sushi pamphlet to my fave mom & pop sushi hole-in-the-wall...and eating sush that IS worth getting excited about.


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  2. Hello friend!

    Try them again! I agree, sometimes service isn't great (ok, it can be bad) There's a waiter who's seem me a million times, and I tip very well, yet he can look right through me. Yet there's a waitress, a brunette who's quite nice.

    I find it weird that even at the sushi bar you order via a waiter.

    The two owners are usually behind the sushi bar, but sometimes there's another guy or two there and I really do not like them. It's not the same experience.

    Why don't you call and ask when the owners will be there? And sit at the sushi bar - that might make the meal nicer for you.

    I've been to Tataki many times. I will admit there have been a few times where the service wasn't making me happy, but I go back because I do really like the owners a bunch.

    Best wishes (or should that be Best Fishes?)