The Nakato Dilemma (or The Tale of the $150 Sushi Dinner)

Be careful when asking about “sharing” a dinner at Nakato.

Imagine this: you go for a fancy dinner, ask a lot of questions about the menu, and make your choices. The service is adequate, and the meal itself is exquisite. When the bill comes, though, you’ve been charged twice what you expected.

What would you do?


Nakato is one of those restaurants we drive past often on our way to Little Bangkok or Roxx. We’ve been there once before, long ago, for a simple dinner. Last night, looking to break with our original routine, we went there for my birthday dinner.

I made reservations via Open Table, taking advantage of the app’s “Any special instructions?” feature to note this would be a birthday dinner. We arrived at 6:30 and found the restaurant quiet and mostly empty — but by the time we left, every table and many seats at the sushi bar were packed with eager diners.

For me, the most intriguing item was the “Omakase” (literally, “I leave it to you”) sushi dinner: an opportunity to sit in front of a skilled sushi chef and allow him to select and organize a culinary adventure just for you.

Though drawn to this, I thought the pricing was unclear: “$80.00, or indicate the number of people sharing the platter.” So I asked our server, “Could the two of us share the Omakase dinner?”

“Yes, absolutely.”

“So, there’s no problem with the two of sharing the $80.00 dinner?”

“No, no problem at all.”

So we moved to the sushi bar — and the next hour was magical. The sushi we were served was more a story than a meal, from the delicate and ghostly hotate (scallop, with a touch of lemon) to the creamy chu toro (fatty tuna) to the complex ikura (salmon caviar with quail egg), every single bite was an adventure.

By the time we accepted the little bowls of green tea ice cream, we felt so happy — despite the fact that, before our meal ended, our server mysteriously disappeared. But before long, a young man noticed this and began filling our water glasses for us, and, at the end of the meal, he was the one who brought us the bill …

… for $150.00. The ticket was written for two omakase dinners at $75.00 each.


My heart sank — and not really so much because of the size of the tab, but because now I faced a tough decision. The meal I’d just finished was one of the best I’ve had in Atlanta in a long time. I loved the entire experience and savored every bite. As $70.00 per plate sushi dinners go, this one was worth every penny.

At the same time, I felt really troubled by being charged twice what I had expected to pay, especially since I had asked our server — twice! — whether we could share a single dinner. But speaking up about this meant spoiling the evening with potential unpleasantness, and ending our nice night on a sour note.

So, in my situation, what would you have done? I’m curious, because, today, I’m still wondering whether what I did was, in fact, the best thing to do. Share your comments here or on Facebook; after I see them, I’ll share what I ended up doing.

Mark McElroy

I'm a husband, mystic, writer, media producer, creative director, tinkerer, blogger, reader, gadget lover, and pizza fiend.

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Who Wrote This?

Mark McElroy

I'm a husband, mystic, writer, media producer, creative director, tinkerer, blogger, reader, gadget lover, and pizza fiend.

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