Friday, June 4, 2010

A Disappointment at Hinote Sushi Restaurant


My family and I just came back from dinner at The Keg. We literally came back half an hour ago, but I just cannot help myself and have to blog about my experience at Hinote right away since I'm still fuming about it.

So you're probably wondering why I would blog about Hinote when I just said I came back The Keg? Well, LISTEN TO THIS.

I've been to Hinote a handful of times, and I have to admit that it is one of the better Japanese restaurants in Mississauga. It does not have a fancy front. It's located in a strip mall beside Price Choppers. I remember I was pleasantly surprised after my first time there (my friend Ed introduced me to the restaurant), and even brought my parents there too. The sashimi is always very fresh, the maki rolls are always tightly rolled, and the presentation is always nice and neat on the serving plates. The dishes are priced modestly as well, although it may be a bit pricey for some. But you pay for what you get. Anyway, I thought it would be nice to have my birthday dinner tonight with my family - drink some sake, order some a la carte specialty rolls, maybe a sushi/sashimi boat to share, etc. I made a reservation two days ago (Wednesday) at Hinote for 6 people at 7pm. The person who answered the phone cheerfully said "No problem! Thank you!". Great. I love people who sound cheerful on the phone. Birthday dinner with the family is good to go. Everything confirmed. Or so I thought.

My parents, my boyfriend, and I got to Hinote at 7pm. My brother and my sister-in-law were already there, waiting at a two person table that was smack in the middle of the restaurant. When I look around, all the big tables were already seated with people. Mind you, Hinote is a very small restaurant; there are maybe four booths that seats four on one side, and the other side has maybe three table that seats six people, two tables that seats two people, and one two-person table that is kind of in the middle of the restuarant (which my brother and sister-in-law were waiting). Confused, I asked my brother what was going on, "how come there is not table for us"?. He said that the waitress gave him some response like "sorry.....didn't know the customers would eat for so long......please wait a bit". I was not only confused by the time, I was outright pissed off. Why? When I look around, I see that the people sitting at the bigger tables have only just sat down, or just started eating.

I walked up to the waitress, and sternly told her that I made a reservation two days ago for 7pm. It's 7pm, and none of those tables look even close to being done. How long do we have to wait? I think she was taken back by how mad I was, and said she will check and see. But all I saw her doing was continue serving customers. My brother told me to just forget it and leave, and to tell them to bring back the birthday cake (my brother brought it to the Hinote). I walked up the waitress and lectured her. I basically said:

"Why do you even bother taking reservations when you don't even bother reserving a table? Why do you even offer customers the option of reserving tables when you don't even honour the reservation?! Is it so hard to save a table? Isnt' that what a reservation is all about? We were on time, no actually, we were early. Do you know it's my birthday?! Bring me back the cake, I am leaving!". She quickly fetched the cake and actually looked genuinely looked sorry and apologized many times. But still, not once did she try to persuade me to stay. 

It may not have been her fault that this happened, but really, I do not care. It is my birthday, and I was PISSED OFF! The worse thing is, it's not like Hinote accidently forgot or missed my reservation, they actaully acknowledged the existence of my reservation, but they chose not to do anything about it!

I've decided to never go back to Hinote. Such a pity though because like I said, their food is quite good. However, I don't think I can forget about tonight's's just SO UTTERLY DISAPPOINTING! The reviews from Urbanspoon about Hinote are mostly positive as well, and anything negative is usually about their service, which is evident to me now. 

Afterwards, we went to The Keg at Heartland Town Centre. The restaurant was modern and sophisticated, my rare rib steak was tender, juicy, and delicious, the service was superb. We only had to wait 10 minutes for a table, without reservations.

I shall end of this post with a quote from Seinfeld, which I find to be quite suitable for this situation:

Agent: Unfortunately we ran out of cars.
Jerry: But the reservation keeps the cars here. That's why you have the reservation.
Agent: I know why we have reservations.
Jerry: I don't think you do. If you did, I'd have a car. See, you know how to take the reservation, you just don't know how to hold the reservation and that's really the most important part of the reservation, the holding. Anybody can just take them.

Agent = Waitress, Jerry = The Food Junkie, Cars = Table

Note: Pictures are courtesy of Urbanspoon Toronto. You would have to be silly to think I was in the mood to take pictures tonight.