Having had a fantastic experience and food at Zakushi before, I thought it would be a great place to go for a low-key dinner with my sister to celebrate my birthday. Unfortunately, other than the great ambiance of the room, we were sadly disappointed in everything else.
I want to preface my review by saying that it was an unusual night, there were 5 birthdays being celebrated and very large groups of people. However, I don't think that should affect all the other smaller tables in the restaurant.
After being seated, we waited almost 15 minutes for someone to acknowledge us at our table and take a drink order. It took us asking the host directly if there was somewhere to put our coats as we were in a small single seated booth. After that, the servers pretty much disappeared for those of us in the 2-seater booths.
Food wise, our tofu salad and the grilled garlic shoot with pork skewers was excellent as always, but that's where it ended.
Parts of our order were forgotten, parts came cold and we literally had to go find servers to get water or make additional orders. The chicken kaarage came so undercooked it was almost raw. As experienced foodies, it's quite rare (excuse the pun) for either of us to send food back to the kitchen unless there's a serious problem, but what made it even more unusual was that our same uneaten plate came back five minutes later! We were told that the chef was properly trained and that in the chefs professional opinion the chicken was cooked appropriately. When we explained, then demonstrated to the poor 'stuck in the middle' host that the outside was still white-beige and the inside raw pink, it was obvious he was uncomfortable and could only offer to cancel this dish from our bill. Nothing was offered to take its place and there was no apology. I know they were busy, but in all my varied restaurant experience I've never had a chef send back the same plate of food that had a complaint.
During dinner I was joking with the host about how many birthdays they had because they shut off the music and lights and there is a jovial "happy birthday" song sung by the staff at the table. I mentioned that it was also to my birthday celebration and got the 'oh, happy birthday' and a nod.
While I'm not someone who usually goes in for the happy birthday song or aknowledgement, I thought it would be kind of fun after seeing how they do it. But it was probably a good 40 minutes after we finished dinner with plates still on the table, and foregoing desert, before we finally gave up and asked for the bill.
Considering they had already had birthday celebrations I guess I kind of had my hopes up. So, this was an unfortunate experience which left me sad and disappointed...and without dessert.
I'm not sure if I'll ever go back, but it definitely won't be on the weekend.
Darn. Was so happy to finally have Izakaya in the neighborhood.but I'm going to have to rate this restaurant as total hit or miss. After tonight, I say miss it.