Sure, you can always pay $10,000 for AM to D.J. your store opening (that’s what a publicist who worked with him told us he pulled), but for true atmosphere, why not hire an Iron Chef to put on a promotional robe and cut up toro all night? We’re not sure how many $99.99 cashmere sweaters the new Uniqlo outpost will have to sell to make back Morimoto’s appearance fee, but we can tell you this much: While sipping sake from wooden Uniqlo boxes, we heard secondhand that one of the party’s organizers said the fish cost $50,000. (Morimoto’s people said the number was off but wouldn’t say by how much, or whether it included the charge for his actual appearance.) Whatever the store paid, it was worth seeing Morimoto wielding his sword (possibly the $30,000 one?) and mugging for the Japanese girls who must’ve popped off 100 photos of him while perched at his elbow. The Iron man’s sous-chef also hammed it up: When one attendee demanded the very last cut of toro, the chef grinned facetiously and, instead of rolling up rice, served it to him on a ball of wasabi.
Update: A publicist for Uniqlo informs us that the fish, a specially imported, 100-pound whole loin of bluefin tuna, only cost $4,000, though one ordering an equal amount of the fish from a sushi restaurant might spend $25,000. She would not say whether Morimoto’s appearance fee accounted for the remainder of the $50,000, if that figure was accurate at all.
— Daniel Maurer