In view of the difficulty faced by non-omniscient wiki editors in determining the facts in situations like this, I've decided to move these comments to a separate page, where they won't interfere with the reviews. Valid points are involved, including the handling of drunk patrons, responsibility of restaurant owners, and the Importance of Using your RealName. I have no real comment. —ct

Reminder: drunken postings go here

2008-04-20 13:04:44   Zen Toro was the worst restaurant experience ever. The staff is rude, irrational, and ignorant when it comes to the meaning of customer service. Here are the reasons why:

We order 5 sake bombs, specifying 5 glasses of beer and 1 bottle of sake. The waitress brings out 5 bottles of sake and 5 glasses of beer. When we clarified the order, she agrees and takes the bottles back. When she brings the bill to our table, she hands us the bill and says, "I still need to charge you for the 5 bottles of sake." Are you kidding me? I talk to the owner and say, "We shouldn't be charged for bottles of sake that we didn't order." The waitress ultimately ends up fixing the bill. This is something that should have been avoided in the first place.

The owner decides that one of her customers is too intoxicated, and she refuses to serve him anymore alcohol. The customer is upset and leaves the restaurant. The owner demands that my friend pay his bill, since they know each other (even though we weren't in the same party). When I ask the owner what his actions were that made her decide that they could not serve him anymore, she couldn't tell me anything. She replied "You have to ask my husband." When I continued to ask, "Well it's a simple question and it was your decision to not serve him. Can you list his exact actions that led you to believe that he was drunk?" She couldn't give me an answer and became upset, ultimately yelling and pointing her finger, "I REMEMBER YOUR FACE! DON'T EVER COME BACK TO THIS RESTAURANT EVER AGAIN!!" A simple question led her to become angry and emotional.

Is this really proper etiquette for service at a restaurant, especially from the owner? I understand that the owners have the right to refuse serving alcohol, but she didn't have any reason whatsoever. I also refuse to eat at a restaurant where the owner becomes angry and throws her emotions in the faces of her customers. Why else would she become angry besides the fact that she had no argument? There is a similar review on where the owner suggested to a customer that she shouldn't return to Zen Toro. There are multiple reviews on Yelp and DavisWiki regarding Zen Toro's bad customer service. Avoid Zen Toro at all possible costs. A restaurant with an owner like this should never be in existence. —HelloWorld08

  • A restaurant/bar can refuse to serve someone who appears inebriated. If they don't, they can lose their liquor license, and face criminal charges and lawsuits if someone is injured or dies (which is what happened to The Paragon in 2001 after someone died). I've always had good experiences at Zen Toro. From the description above, it sounds like the owner was behaving responsibly and you were antagonizing her. —DukeMcAdow

* In response to your experience at Zen Toro: First: Zen Toro is entitled to every right to refuse service to anyone who is disruptive or not in the proper public character to dine at the restaurant. Judging from your explanation, it seems as though your friend as well as your party was that of a disruptive party. But I don't need to make this assumption because I was personally there having dinner with my wife and saw your party's behavior. Since you failed to mention other details to make your case sound sincere, I feel obligated to fill in those inappropriate gaps that led to the dismissal of your friends. As soon as your party arrived, your friend had vomited near the bathroom. Although this mess was taken care of and no major harm was done, the owners felt it was necessary to ask your friend to leave for the beneficiary of the rest of the customers. Although I was not personally offended, I can honestly understand the position of the owners and agree with their decision. This was the first sign that signaled them that your group was intoxicated and not being responsible customers. The second sign was when several of your party members were standing near the sushi bar drinking and being very loud/rowdy. Despite what you make think, a sushi bar is not the same as a drinking bar. I don't know what gave them the impression that this was appropriate behavior in a classy restaurant such as zen toro. The third sign and most obvious reason for your 2nd friend's dismissal was when he had asked for more alcohol, and was denied service because of his condition. As mention above, it is a major liability for the restaurant. Why would the owner's ever take that risk? Your friend had left on his own accord, which leads us to your question, "Can you list his exact actions that led you to believe that he was drunk?" The facts are there. It was obvious that your party was trouble from the beginning and the owners did what they thought best for THEIR business. They didn't need to explain didley squat to you. If you can't understand why the owners wouldn't serve more drinks to you and your party, re-read this paragraph again and read it once more. Your insistence in demanding an explanation of why/how your friend was excused is irrelevant.

Couple more thoughts:

You initiated a controversial situation with Masako (owner). You continued to bug her and ask her questions that had no need of an answer, not to mention the restaurant was still full of customers that she needed to tend to. She did the best to handle the situation and handled it beautifully. When she said, "Don't ever come back this restaurant again!" do you think she is regretful of her remarks. No. Its because of customers like you that make the experiences of others poor. Why would the owners/other customers ever want you back at Zen Toro? Zen Toro has been a successful and amazing establishment for the past decade and they don't need customers who are disruptive, antagonizing, and most of all, intoxicated. Despite your lack of understanding the responsibilities of a business owner, I highly doubt you will ever come the realization that you were in the wrong that night and you are in the wrong by writing your inaccurately incomplete, emotionally motivated and irrational review.

Viva La Zen Toro!

2008-04-21 20:55:36   In response to spiddle's comment - I was one of the "ignorant college students," however I graduated some time ago (along with the others) and do not consider myself or anyone in our party ignorant. One person had too much drink in our party...he threw up away from the dining area, had a friend take him out of the restaurant, end of story. We even apologized to everyone and cleaned up after him. I'm sure the BBB would really find that really appropriate, but I won't go there.

I guess I would have to ask why spiddle would go to such lengths (pun intended) to post three rebuttals about a bad review of their...I mean a restaurant? The word is out that Zen's service is not up to par...check if you don't believe me. We simply shared our review and are asking them to improve their service, since they wouldn't listen to us. I'm not a big fan of the customer always being right, but that doesn't mean an owner can point a finger in your face and treat you poorly. —rydak

2008-04-22 13:16:12   **Hi Duke, I agree that restaurant owners have an obligation to keeping its patrons safe. In addition, our waitress was actually very nice and the (male) owner was quite reasonable. However, a friend (who was not a member of our party) was refused service and he left the restaurant in protest. As a result, the owner's wife (I assume they are married and own Zen Toro) demanded I pay for his group's meal. That is the first time I have ever heard something so ridiculous from a restaurant proprietor. Additionally, I have never in my life seen restaurant staff demand that a patron clean up after him or herself, regardless of the circumstances. That demand raises red flags in my mind.

**Oh, spiddle? Those people allegedly loud and obnoxious? They were quietly eating their meal. My group? We were at our table, enjoying life and enjoying dinner. We were not refused service, they were. Indeed, our groups did not even interact until after they had been refused service. That is when they left and HelloWorld08 and I decided to have a word with the management. Thanks for your input, but I feel that your analysis is based on incomplete data.

**Though I was initially bothered at the poor treatment received by my friend's dinner-party, the male owner reasonably and logically answered each of my questions. Since he made his case rationally, I paid for the other group's dinner without further argument. While we were having our discourse, however, the owner's wife (Masako?) decided to add her two cents. Please notice, there were no heated words UNTIL Masako decided to badger my friend. Indeed, her husband told Masako MULTIPLE TIMES to leave us alone. SHE is the one who kept coming back around to yell at us. Again spiddle, I think you should get more details before making judgements and throwing around accusations.

**spiddle, my friend posted her review in good faith to speak to the treatment that she received at Zen Toro. At what point did you decide it was appropriate to start making character judgements? "ignorant college students"? Sir or madam, every one of the individuals in my group and my friend's group are successful college graduates or post-graduates. Instead of making any assumptions about you personally, I will say that your analysis has been consistently flawed and tinged with your personal attachment to Masako. If you insist on defending her actions, please do not attack the character of my friends. I agree that a restaurant owner may refuse service to anyone they choose. However, the logical outcome of such an action will be a certain amount of controversy. Considering the fact that my "rowdy" group continued to receive service, but my friend's quiet group was turned away, I still feel justified in questioning the rationale. In the end, only two people decided to make this issue personal rather than professional: Masako and you, spiddle. I'm sorry you have not had the opportunity to visit Japanese restaurants other than Zen Toro. If you had, you might realize that part of the appeal of most sushi bars is the exuberant atmosphere and camaraderie between sushi chefs and their patrons. I still like Zen Toro, but due to Masako's markedly unprofessional actions, I will never spend my money there again.

-... good faith? leaving out important details such as a member of the party throwing up or how the people from her group was standing around drinking at the sushi bar... is that really good faith? it sounds pretty damn manipulative to me. if spiddle didn't present his own account of what he saw, then readers of her review would be left with her skewed and conveniently spotty recollection of what went down. NOT GOOD FAITH!

**By the way spiddle, I like this closing line. It makes me laugh: "Despite your lack of understanding the responsibilities of a business owner, I highly doubt you will ever come the rationalization that you were in the wrong that night and you are in the wrong by writing your inaccurately incomplete, emotionally motivated and irrational review." Obviously we understand the motivations of a business owner, but we also understand the motivations of a customer. Also, you might be good at coming to rationalizations, but I think you mean to say "realization". Rationalizing implies creating excuses when one knows they are wrong. In the context of your sentence, that would imply that we know we are right and are trying to convince ourselves that we're wrong. Glad I could help with your word-choice. Also, reviews usually aren't a person's life story, so they tend to be summaries rather than novels. As for your charges of having written an emotionally motivated and irrational review: are you the pot or the kettle? —slee

2008-04-22 15:49:04   I'm confused by this whole dilemma here. At first, HelloWorld08 says the owner refused to serve the customer for no apparent reason. Then it comes forward that the customer threw up in the restaurant (due to alcohol ?). If that isn't grounds for refusing service and kicking someone out, then what is? To the party who got kicked out, I recommend drinking and eating at home because you obviously cannot handle yourselves in public. I'm on Zen Toro's side here. The sushi is always good, fresh, and plated with a creative design. Go to Fuji's if you want to be loud and get trashed. —davistudent

  • * Clarification: The customer who Masako kicked out was not the same customer who threw up. However, the customer who did throw up left quietly on his own with a friend. Masako demanded that a person in our party clean up the mess, or else she would kick us out. A friend cleaned up the mess quietly, however this is grounds for contacting the BBB. Anybody think of the health risks here? Asking another customer to clean up the restaurant is inexcusable.

I've been coming to Zen Toro with my wife ever since it opened up, and I'd have to vouch for the owners as being one of the nicest people around. While service can be slow due to all dishes being made to order, the quality of the food is very high and the wait well worth it. While I wasn't there at the aforementioned incident, I can only imagine that the customer(s) must have extremely disrespectful to Masako to push her to do what she did. Anyways, I was there the following Monday night without knowledge of the incident and the restaurant was packed with plenty of customers. If the owners were so bad, I suspect that the restaurant would not be as popular. I'd chalk up these complaints to a small (but vocal) minority.

  • The restaurant is packed with customers because Zen Toro has better sushi than other Japanese restaurants in Davis. Sometimes good food takes precedence over customer service for some people. We made no comments about the food - we were simply commenting on the poor customer service, which is why we refuse to go back. If you look on Yelp and DavisWiki, there are a ton of customers who think the service could be improved.

Why is there even an argument here? A member of your party threw up. That not just disruptive, that's outright disgusting and no amount of apology can redeem that. Zen Toro's an expensive restaurant, if I'm paying $40 for a meal I don't want to see some drunk college grad or post-grad or whatever he is puking in front of the bathroom. As I recall, the bathroom is in plain view. That means a crowded restaurant saw your friend's stomach contents all over floor. Is that not reason enough to get kicked out? And I highly doubt a group doing sake bombs is "quiet and peaceful", that's just an ironic image right there. I used to be a waitress, and let me just say that people about to do sake bombs are not quiet... rather, they're rather obnoxious. But that's a different story. Between your party's own observation of how you were acting (which I don't quite trust, I mean you guys brought a friend who hurled before even making it to the toilet.. that's really good judgement right there, post-grads!) and another customer's recollection of your behaviors, I have a feeling that the latter is more credible. I doubt that I'm alone on this.

Oh, and rationalization can IMPLY "creating excuses", but it MEANS "to apply logic or reason". Another reason why I suspect your review is slightly faulty.

2008-04-23 14:57:33   Osaka actually has the best Japanese food in Davis. I'm sure that helloworld and slee have a valid complaint as I know both of them well enough to know that they would admit when they are in the wrong. Everyone else should just drop this argument as it does not concern them. Also, Slee, that was kind of a dick comment you made about my gf and I demand an apology. Or you can bring a girl your dating over to our place so that we can critique her as well. —Spiddle2

2008-04-23 18:53:23   Osaka has the best Japanese food in Davis? You've got to be kidding me. —ucsdalum

2008-04-23 19:27:50   Rydak, you are a towel. And yes, if you have ever had home cooked Japanese food, Osaka, which isn't great, is still better than the other Japanese restaurants in Davis. —Spiddle2