After going out for sushi today at a downtown-NYC japanese restaurant I noticed and heard the sushi chefs and the management speaking in Mandarin, and it made me think about the whole issue of the lack of Japanese-owned Japanese restaurants in the US.
Maybe its just me, but I seem to find more often than not that sushi and other japanese restaurants (hibachi, whatever) tend to be owned and run by Chinese and Korean people. This is not to say that the Chinese and Koreans cant do a fine sushi platter, in fact I'd be hard pressed to find the difference between sushi prepared by a well-trained sushi chef of any ethnicity and a native Japanese.
One thing I did notice in my 2 years working for Canon that many Japanese are disdainful of eating at Chinese and Korean owned sushi restaurants -- so if thats the case, why don't they put up or shut up over here? Do they not like going into the restaurant business in general over here? Whats weird about the whole thing is that whenever we had a group outing or party at Canon with the Japanese executives we would go out for CHINESE food. Weird.
Other than some of the real-high end sushi places in manhattan, like Duruma Zushi and Sushisay and Nobu (well.. is Nobu really a sushi place... thats debatable) and I think one at Yaohan is.. Other than that I dont know of any places in the NY metro area that are moderately priced and Japanese owned. There were one or two in Port Washington 5 years ago when I was living there (a teeny weeny place in Manorhaven that the president of Canon ate at comes to mind) but thats it.
Is this something thats not worth obsessing on or is there an actual tangible difference between sushi and japanese food in the US prepared by native japanese? I've never been to Japan, so I cant comment on what the food there is like.