The other night, my daughter and I visited a sushi place near our home (Suffolk County, Long Island) where we have dined well for many years. We sat at the sushi bar, expecting to order a couple of pieces at a time, chat with the sushi chef, etc. etc., in the Japanese way. A waitress came by and asked us for our order. I explained that I was going to order "a la carte." (I could have said "okonomi," but this was Long Island after all.) She said "Okay," but remained waiting for me to give her my order. I explained that I would like to order from the sushi chef, and she said to just give her the order, she'd come back later if we wanted more, and this was the way they wanted us to do things. We were disappointed, but complied. Rather than ordering two pieces each at a time, we ordered six. When we were finished we ordered six more.
The sushi was impeccably fresh and delicious as always, but the experience was spoiled for us. The whole pace of the meal had changed; we might as well have been sitting at a table. (And, as an aside, we would have ordered more had we been allowed to sit, chat, eat, and drink as we wished.)
I am wondering whether this is becoming a trend in other sushi places (and I suspect more in the suburbs than in the city). Anyone have similar experiences or comments?