OK, so I've eaten at Sushi Zo 4 times now. 3 times omakase and 1 time a la carte. 1st time (omakase) - absolutely fabulous. 2nd time (omakase) - great as well. 3rd time (a la carte b/c friends didn't want omakase) - TERRIBLE attitude by Keizo. 4th time (omakase) - fabulous again.
What was so terrible about the 3rd time? I'd gone w/ 2 friends who didn't want to do omakase so we ate at a table. Halfway through the meal I realized that I was charging up much more than my friends who were eating at half my clip. So I politely asked the waitress if I could separate my portion of the check. A few moments later I heard Keizo yelling in Japanese, "Damedayo sonnano imagoro yuttemo!!!" (No way!! Too late to speak up now!!!). I didn't think he would be yelling something so rude when I was at a table right in front of him, but a few moments later the waitress returned and said, "I'm sorry, we can't..." OK. No problem. I wasn't offended at the fact that they couldn't split the check (it might have been dumb of me to ask in the first place) but no need to be so rude about it. Sheesh.
I didn't go back for a while b/c of that, but returned this week b/c I missed the sushi. Had omakase and he was a sweetheart. The food was divine. I left a happy camper.
So tonight. A friend of mine took his whole family there b/c I had sung Sushi Zo's praises to high heaven having just been there. I advised him to do the omakase. But he opted for the a la carte. He arrived around 7 p.m. and spoke to the waitresses in Japanese. He was seated at a table. Apparently his order was taking a long time. When he ordered something he heard Keizo yell, "Jikan kakarutte yuttoite!!!" (Tell 'em it's gonna take a long time!!!) When my friend called me to complain about that and just the general rudeness he experienced, I was SO disappointed. I thought Keizo might have yelled in Japanese when I was there not knowing that I'm fluent in it, but my friend was speaking in Japanese to the waitress the whole time. So there's no excuse there. That's just rude.
My conclusion: Keizo is nice to regulars and omakase customers but rude to a la carte customers. Much as I enjoy his sushi, I don't think I'm ever going back. If I'm gonna drop $120+ on a meal, I don't wanna feel like he's doing me any favors. Plus, when I recommend a restaurant to a friend, I don't want to follow it w/ a disclaimer that although the food is divine, the sushi chef may be an a-hole...
Very disappointed. I generally don't rant b/c "good service" is so subjective, but Keizo clearly crossed the line this time. Caveat emptor guys.
On a brighter note, Sushidokoro Kirala's sushi chef really made my friend and I feel welcome when we had omakase there last month. No attitude. Even a yummy oyster tempura w/ truffle on the house. Though I would rate the sushi slightly lower than Zo's, it was overall a much more pleasant experience b/c of the lack of attitude.