My wife and I had dinner at Kiku recently and I was all set to write a normal review of the Japanese restaurant mentioning how they don’t necessarily have the fastest service in the world, but they do have some pretty good sushi at a reasonable price. Then I went back three days later for a friend’s 30th birthday…
The birthday dinner started out fine, we got our drinks and ordered some appetizers and our entrees. Almost an hour later we were still waiting for our food or at least for someone to stop back and ask if we needed a refill on our drinks. Shortly after the one hour mark our waiter returned and told us our food would be ready in a minute. One minute turned into 15 and he finally came back with a few plates of food.
While handing out the plates he asked who ordered the Philadelphia Roll and the Salmon Roll. I told him that I ordered a Philadelphia Roll, but that along with it I ordered the Superman Maki, which consists of tuna and cream cheese inside a deep fried roll topped with spicy mayo, eel sauce and crunch. I know, leave it to me to go out for sushi and find the one thing that’s deep fried and covered in mayonnaise right? “Oh yeah” he replied “This is the Superman Maki.”
Now, I had just eaten this same exact thing three days prior when I was there with my wife. In fact, the reason I ordered it this time was because I liked it so much that I wanted to try it again. The roll that was on my plate this time however didn’t have any cream cheese, wasn’t deep fried and had no crunch on top of it. It clearly wasn’t the same thing I’d eaten a few days prior. I told our waiter that I though I had gotten the wrong roll and he took the plate back to the chef. He returned a couple minutes later and our conversation went something like this:
Our Waiter: “Yeah, I talked to the chef, this is the Superman Maki”
Me: “OK, but the Superman Maki has cream cheese and is deep fried and covered in crunch. This roll has no cream cheese or crunch and isn’t even deep friend”
Our Waiter: “Yes it is.”
Me: “Alright, I’m not trying to be difficult, but if anyone knows the difference between something that’s deep fried and something that isn’t it’s me and this clearly isn’t deep fried. On top of that, there’s no cream cheese in it and it isn’t covered in crunch.”
Our Waiter: “Fine, if it isn’t the Superman Maki than what is it?”
Me: “I have no idea what it is, but I can certainly tell you what it isn’t…”
He left again and this time returned with a menu, opened it and pointed at a completely different item than the one I ordered and said “See, this is the Superman Maki.” I mentioned that the picture he was pointing at wasn’t in fact the Superman Maki and then took the menu and flipped to the page that it was actually located on and showed it to him hoping he would see that aside from the spicy mayo and eel sauce drizzled on my sushi that it looked nothing at all like what I really ordered. This didn’t seem to faze him however and he continued to argue with me. I told him that I had just had the same exact thing when I was there three days earlier and that it didn’t look anything like this. The rest of our conversation went like this:
Our Waiter: “Well what do you want me to do, have the chef make you a new one?”
Me: “Yeah, this obviously isn’t what I ordered so that would be great”
Our Waiter: “Fine, but it’ll take two hours”
Our Waiter: “We’re busy so if you want a new one it’ll take two hours.”
At this point I couldn’t even believe that he was still arguing with me and three of the people at our table still hadn’t gotten their food so I just told him to forget it and that I’d eat the incorrect sushi and that he should just worry about getting the rest of the food to our table. The rest of our entrees arrived about five minutes later and once we were done eating our appetizers finally arrived. That’s right, our appetizers came AFTER we finished our meal.
We also clearly weren’t the only table in the restaurant that had a bad experience that night either. One other table got up and left after sitting for about 15 minutes without anyone stopping by their table to asked if they needed drinks. Their waiter’s response to them leaving? “Fuck ‘em.” Not only did he make that comment though, he said it loud enough for the entire back of the restaurant to hear him. We could also hear another table complaining about the service at Kiku, but weren’t close enough to hear what their actual problem was.
Once we were done eating, the hostess who originally sat us at our table stopped over to ask if everything was OK. “Honestly, not really” my friend Hank replied. He then proceeded to tell her about the numerous problems we had with our meal to which she responded “Oh, I’m sorry about that.” We asked her if we could talk to the manager and she said she’d go get him, but our waiter returned instead. We asked him if at the very least he could take my incorrect item off the bill but he flatly refused saying “If you have a problem with the service just don’t tip me.” My friend Jason tried explaining to him how ridiculous that was and at that point our waiter got so upset that not only did he continue arguing with us but he was actually sticking his finger in Jason’s face. We realized that we clearly weren’t getting anywhere with him so we just had him bring our bill and we paid and left.
I know people can have bad days and things can go wrong and normally I like to give anyone the benefit of the doubt, but the way our waiter was arguing with us and the way he acted was just beyond inexcusable. On top of that, it didn’t seem like anyone else who worked there seemed to care about much at all either. Believe it or not, Milwaukee actually has a pretty decent selection of places to get sushi and from now on I’ll be heading to those places instead of Kiku.