My husband told me he went to Menkui Tei (3rd Ave., south of St. Marks) for lunch today and had a most unpleasant experience. We'd been there many times before and had recently enjoyed a grilled piece of mackerel with a not-too-sweet teriyaki glaze over the nice, crisp skin. Today, they had whole mackerel on the menu so that's what he chose. When it was presented to him, he dug in with his chopsticks and quickly came to realize that the fish had not been cleaned. Everything was there - gills to guts. When he asked the waitress about it, she said, "I'll ask the chef," and came back to say that, "Japanese people like it that way, so that's how we serve it." He paid for it without eating and went out for pizza.
Really, though - is this, in fact, the norm? 'Cause we've never seen it anywhere else. Granted, we've never ordered whole fish in a Japanese restaurant before.