My wife and I recently dined at this beautifully appointed facility in a perfect river waterfront setting. Having been accustomed to NYC's best, the sushi exceeded my expectations. The staff was friendly and polite. The Japanese seaweed salad and shumai were on par.
Nearly everything was great and when the waitress asked us how it was, I told her that everything was great - except for the miso soup. It was a bit salty, I said. She replied that yes, this often happened. In fact, I had left most of the soup liquid, but had skimmed some of the tofu off the top. I hadn't planned to mention anything about it. But when the waitress asked, and then confirmed that this dish did not always satisfy customers, I sort of expected to find it taken off the check (which was over $100 - the soup was only $6).
When the soup stayed on the check, I politely inquired, thinking that the waitress had just forgotten. In fact, she had discussed it with management, I later found out. But what she told me originally, was that it was the owner's policy: that if the dish had been tasted, then it would stay on the check. And the owner was not around to discuss it. She had no authority to remove it. I thought this a bit odd. having traveled extensively, and worked in NYC for years, I have usually found that service staff were empowered to satisfy a customer's reasonable requests. I let it go for awhile.
After paying the check, and leaving an acceptable tip, I asked for the manager - just to make sure. What I was told then defies every principle of retail customer relations.
What I was explicitly told (making a long story short, after some words back and forth) was that neither the owner nor the staff cared whether I ever came back. They were making quite enough money without me. As we were leaving, the manager was saying something about my making a big deal about a bowl of soup.
Remember - I had not even planned to mention the salty miso soup. It was only after I was asked, and said it wasn't good - and then staff did nothing about it - that I complained. And only after they said they didn't care, that I became incensed.
What could have been the perfect experience was spoiled by poor attitude. I hope that this establishment continues to be successful, and may they be so lucky as to never rely on repeat business, because their current business practices will most certainly impact that.