Uchu Left Us with a Terrible Taste in our Mouths and $1,200 Lighter
We will have our full review out in the coming weeks, but I thought it necessary to start a blog post that I will continue to update as the events unfold. We went to Uchu for Valentine's Day excited to see how a two Michelin Star omakase restaurant such as Uchu would compare to one of our favorite omakase restaurants, Sushi Noz, which currently only has one star.
I must tell you that our experience was a $1,200 disaster and if Michelin was there that day they would have stripped Uchu of all their stars. The wagyu was chewy and sinewy, the hotate was slimy and I refused to eat it. Natalie was more brave, but when she began to chew I saw her struggling to swallow it. The chutoro and otoro smelled so bad that I was able to decide I would not eat it from perhaps 10 feet away. Natalie again ate the otoro and there remained an oily film in her mouth and a taste that made her nauseous, that could only be resolved by quickly getting gum from the local bodega after we left.
We left the service before the end because we were so offended by the substandard quality of fish that was being placed in front of us. Chef Ichimura had such a nice demeanor that immediately won us over, but by the time we left (abruptly), we realized he must know the fish is not satisfactory, but was serving it to us anyway. That is not at all what you'd expect from a master sushi chef that has such an appreciation for quality and a respect for his clients.
As soon as we left I knew I would be requesting a full refund. At the time of us leaving, the restaurant refused to offer any reduction in the check. They said they were not authorized to negotiate the bill and it was obvious that they had no intention to do so regardless if anyone working that night knew how to reverse a credit card charge.
We'd like to hear your experience! Leave your comments at the bottom of this post.
Update: Saturday, February 15, 2020
I waited until about 3:30pm for the restaurant manager to give me a call. When I finally called the restaurant, the manager said he was about to call me (sure buddy). I explained to him why we were there (other than to celebrate Valentine's Day), and why our experience was so bad. He refused to give us any kind of compensation, or invite us back to try and make things right. He said he talked to the owner of the restaurant, Derek Feldman (https://www.linkedin.com/in/derek-feldman-59186b83) and that he decided not to do anything to compensate us for the horrible experience. He continued to say that they did not care if I disputed the charge with the credit card company. I informed him that I would be documenting this entire experience and I asked him for his name. The manager of Uchu said his name was Mr. Unger. I asked him to spell it and he refused, I asked him for his first name and he refused. I was blown away by how unprofessional this exchange was. I will continue to fill everyone in regarding what the credit card company says, and what documentation the restaurant submits. Natalie just told me that she can still taste the nasty otoro they served us the night before.
When I woke up this morning, I started to reflect on our experience at Uchu. I decided that the only cure was to reach out to Sushi Noz to see if they had an opening for this evening. Luckily for us, they were able to fit us in at 6pm. If you've never been, Sushi Noz is a visceral experience, and every bite of sushi needs to be chewed slowly and savored because it's just that good, and life is too short. Natalie actually cried tonight because she was overwhelmed with joy during our dinner at Sushi Noz. Uchu should be making a point to keep up with the bustling Manhattan omakase scene- because they're falling desperately behind.
Below are a few pictures from our amazing evening at Sushi Noz:
Update: Sunday, February 16, 2020
We woke up this morning still on a high from our dinner last night at Sushi Noz. That is until I checked my email and saw an email from Lauren Carroll the Chief Operating Officer of Uchū Hospitality (https://www.linkedin.com/in/lauren-carroll-03b708a7). They are now 2 for 2 at ruining a good mood (the first time being Valentine's Day). I have included her email below and my response.
Lauren Carroll COO Uchū Hospitality
"Good morning Mr. Manton, I received your message and have spoken with our team at Uchū regarding your dinner. It is never our intention to provide a poor dining experience and we have not received feedback on par with your disappointment. We respectfully decline your request for a refund."
Josh - Sushi Soulmate
"Such a shame that a restaurant of your caliber, not only served poor quality food on Friday, but also failed to make it right in any way. I am documenting the experience here for our followers.....I will add your email response to the posting."
As soon as the charge is available to dispute with the credit card company we will be doing so. A restaurant like Uchu should not get away with serving people poor quality food, and thus far not standing behind their name (more like hiding behind their two Michelin stars).
Update: Tuesday, February 18, 2020
I learned something interesting today. Chase does not stand behind their card members when it comes to food service disputes. I spoke to a supervisor (Torry) in Chase's dispute claims department and she advised me that I should have walked out of the restaurant without paying the bill. She said that because I signed the bill, I'm bound to the card services agreement and Chase cannot support me in this dispute. How many people would actually just walk out of a restaurant ? I personally would never want to handle it that way.
I have used American Express for over 10 years and I know that they would stand behind their card members when a vendor is taking advantage, or offering poor quality services. Going forward I will be charging all restaurant bills to my American Express Card.
So, what to do next....I consulted an attorney and he recommended that I take this dispute to small court.
So I filed a claim against Uchu Hospitality:
If anyone needs to file a claim in the future, it was very easy to do online. Here are a few links that I followed that helped in this process:
Update: Thursday, February 20, 2020
First, I want to thank everyone for the tremendous show of support during this unfortunate but necessary process. We have reviewed over a dozen omakase restaurants in NYC and eaten at dozens more. We have developed a tremendous appreciation for the coordination and effort it takes to source fresh fish, some flown in from japan that morning, others delicately aged to perfection. When we say we felt the fish at Uchu was not good, I don't mean below average, I mean worse than any local sushi delivery restaurant on a bad day. At Uchu's price point, that should never happen. Even worse, it was on Valentine's Day.
Today we received notice that our filing has been approved by the Civil Court of the city of New York. A court appearance is scheduled for March 24th. The court will mail the claim directly to Uchu and we have already started to outline our argument for the judge.
As always we'd love to hear your ideas and thoughts on Instagram or anonymously in the comments at the bottom of this post.
More to come.....