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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Expensive mistakes and cheap sake

"Can I check your coat?" the Japanese waitress at Yoshi's asks me as I enter the upstairs restaurant. My instincts tell me something isn't right because very few reasonably priced Japanese restaurants in Vancouver offer coat-check and even fewer have authentic Japanese waitresses. I opt to hang on to my jacket in case unforeseen circumstances force me to beat a hasty retreat later in the evening. Fred, Tomlin, and Jeremy have already arrived and are seated at a table by the window. I notice none of them have checked their coats. Something is definitely up.

Almost as soon as I am seated, Fred whispers to me with some embarrassment that we've, in fact, made reservations at the wrong restaurant. Rather than the Japanese skewer place with hip ambiance and cheap beers that Fred and Tomlin had had in mind, we are instead sitting at what may well be the second most expensive Japanese restaurant in town. We are in too deep and there is precious little we can do, save ordering drinks and desserts and leaving at the earliest convenient moment.

The others order the cheapest sake on the menu--some twenty-dollar colourless antifreeze concoction served in a warm waterbath--while I try my hand at coffee and tiramisu. The waitress stares at me with an expression that's somewhere between bewilderment and annoyance, and tells me in heavily-accented English that both coffee and tiramisu are unavailable. I settle for green tea ice cream and Jeremy orders two--yes, two--pieces of sushi.

Moments later, the other members of our party arrive and are told of our predicament. I spend the next twenty minutes sneaking periodic glances at Chef Yoshi, the restaurant's owner, to see if there is any obvious signs of anger--thankfully, the chef is preoccupied with a couple at the sushi bar, who are presumably ordering real food. At this point, I realize that the fastest way we can leave is to somehow convince Jeremy to spit out his sushi in disgust and scream, "What is this @$*^? It tastes like raw fish and rice!!!!" But a quick look at the Chef and his deftness with his glistening knife quickly convinces me to abandon that idea.

The rest of the guys down the warm sake in shots and we quickly collect the bill and leave. Total time spent at one of the finest sushi establishments in Vancouver: 35 minutes. As we speed-walk out of the restaurant, I clutch my leather jacket and breathe a sigh of relief for not having checked it earlier--I'm doubly thankful I didn't use Yoshi's parking lot either. Whew.

Your Favorite Jerk


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