Okay, so I haven't lived in WLA long, and I've been to less than a handful of restaurants in the last month, so take this post with a grain of salt and please feel free to chime in and tell me where I should be going next.
BUT, having dined out a lot in general, I think Musha deserves a big round of applause for how well they handled a birthday party I organized last week.
My friend made the initial reservation, but I subsequently became the contact person for the manager. The manager, Taku (sp?) Suzuki is incredibly nice, was great about calling me back, offered suggestions, and was overall very helpful. And yes, he does speak English so there was no difficulty there.
After some back and forth with me describing what we were looking for, he suggested that I order three appetizers and allow the group to decide what they wanted in terms of entrees. This would allow his kitchen to get a head start on our table, would solve the problem in big parties of the first arrivals getting really hungry and antsy, and would still give everyone the freedom to choose food he/she liked.
I have to say, we were a difficult party to serve. 18 people in a very small restaurant; loud; hungry; adding to the order; adding to the drink order. This, coupled with Musha's tableside prep style of serving food, made for a very chaotic meal. Which is why it was amazing that the staff was able to roll with the punches and keep smiles on their faces the whole night. Everyone loved the atmosphere and really appreciated the friendly service. And even though we were all expecting to have to wait for our food, service was actually surprisingly quick. Food kept coming at a good pace, and our plates were changed several times during the meal. The food was delicious, and we tried almost everything on the menu. There wasn't a single dish that fell flat, just difference in opinions of what was best.
Then came the real coup de grace. I had dropped off a birthday cake an hour before our reservation, and the restaurant had said they wouldn't charge me cakeage. Wow! Then, when I pretended to go to the restroom after dinner so I could put candles in the cake, I discovered that the staff had already filled the cake with their own candles and was ready to roll it out on a baking cart! I was so surprised and grateful. And on top of all that, they turned off the lights in the entire restaurant for the duration of the birthday song and everyone sang along. Our friend was so surprised he thought he'd coincidentally booked a reservation on someone else's birthday.
After all that revelry, the food bill came out to a measly $25 per person. And yes, we were all extremely full (drink bill was separate and definitely not low). The restaurant also only added a piddling 15% gratuity for our bill, which we of course supplemented to thank them for an incredible night out.
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