Yutaka Japanese Hibachi Steakhouse
Main Street Somerville NJ
I just want to cut to the chase. It is BYOB and only come here for lunch if you are in a rush. While this place is reasonably priced, if you come for dinner you might be disappointed. The quality of the food and taste is just ok at best.
I found the staff to be something just sort of rude. We came at 2pm on a February Sunday afternoon, the place was only at about 50% capacity. We wanted to sit at the hibachi table so they sat me, my wife and my brother on a corner. Not sure why but I explained we wanted to sit “together” on the other end. The hostess explained that was reserved for 4 others. I didn’t see the problem as if we sat in their spot there were still 4 spots left for them to sit. It’s my brother’s birthday so I think we deserved to sit where we were comfortable rather than leave empty seats for people that would not be there for another half hour.
It was made clear to the waitress that we were going to share all the food/plates (we ordered 2 hibachi, 1 sushi sashimi combo and one appetizer), we all wanted a variety of everything so we were happy to share 3 plates rather than get one each. When the Hibachi Chef came, he only filled the plates of my wife and brother, I had to scrape rice & food off my wife’s plate since mine was obviously empty. I guess he did not get the note from the waitress though it was obviously clear we were all sharing. I asked the chef for more napkins but he said I had to go to the front to ask for more. I did, but the tip would suffer. It might be beneath him to have to supply napkins, however working in a restaurant is a team effort and he should have made the effort to get the waitress or hostess to bring us more.
The theatrics were great, as always, the flaming onion volcano, tossing the vegetable into the mouth of a guest, a squirt of sake in the customer’s mouth, all great fun, but the chef was just going through the motions and didn’t really look very happy to be doing it. His humor was dry and almost sarcastic. The staff just wanted to clear our plates as quickly as possible though there was still food on it. We had to scramble to grab the food off the serving plate on to our other plates before the food was discarded.
I’ve always said that you MUST be hospitable if you want to be in the hospitality business. I myself am, and trust me there are so many days when I have to put on a smile and take as much nonsense as is thrown at you. On my day off when I am spending money, I expect the same in return. I don’t expect special treatment above any other patron, but I certainly don’t want to be treated like cattle with an ATM card. Slamming of plates in a rush is never acceptable. Its nerve racking and its simply not polite. I am not an interruption of your business, I am the reason you are in business. If you don’t value a customer, someone else will.
While I normally leave a 18-20% tip, today I left 14% – It should have been less. The hostess (who I had to ask to put paper towels in the restroom), the waitress, and the chef all contributed to my disappointment. The quality of the food I could easily overlook if everyone had just put on a smile and made us feel welcomed as opposed to an intrusion when it was not even a lunch rush.