The first rule of fine dining: If you have to ask how much it costs, don’t order it. In a piece chronicling his painful realization of this truth for Vice, screenwriter Matt Galletta recounts how he and a friend decided to eat at a “transcendent” sushi spot before going to a show in Times Square, then nearly suffered heart attacks when their bill totaled four figures in less than an hour.
It’s possible some of Galletta’s story is embellished, but he says they ducked into a restaurant his friend — a big Jiro Dreams of Sushi fan — said was run by one of Jiro Ono’s old apprentices (Galletta gives him the moniker of “Toma”):
We were told Jiro’s protégé Toma was actually there that night, and we should sit at the counter. Matt was giddy. The wizard himself would be making our sushi before our very eyes. Suddenly, I was bummed that we only had an hour to eat. I like sushi a lot and was prepared to do some damage.
They went big, feasting on toro cuts and uni that the chef “was literally cleaving” live a few feet away. At a certain point, Galletta says his friend leaned over and said, “This is gonna cost us.” Being naïve fools, they were apparently expecting “to pony up at least one hundred. Maybe 150.” So imagine their shock when the check came:
We opened it together, like shitty Golden Globe presenters.
The bill read one-one-zero-zero. Eleven hundred. One-thousand one-hundred. $1,100. Dollars.
As I mentioned, I write for a living. I didn’t have $1,100. Matt didn’t either.
Galletta thought the bill was maybe even in yen — until the staff calmly explained some basic truths about sushi, like that fresh uni costs a buttload and that New York’s most expensive meal consists of raw fish. The duo used a credit card that took months to pay off, and gamely even figured in a tip Galletta admits was “more than my last week’s worth of food, easily.”