May 18, 2022

Mixed reactions to high-priced Japanese restaurant in Richmond


A new upscale Asian restaurant in Richmond receives mixed reviews – not on its food but on its prices and policies.

Sushi Kiwami, located at the Versante hotel in North Richmond, offers set menus at $ 299 / person, $ 399 / person or $ 499 / person and, on occasion, $ 599 / person, explained a member. of staff contacted by the Richmond News.

And it’s not just the prices that raise eyebrows.

Guests who show up more than 15 minutes late for their reservation may be refused service but charged the full price of the “cheapest” menu – $ 299. Those who make a reservation but don’t show up or cancel more than 48 hours in advance will also be charged the menu price of $ 299. (Walk-ins are not accepted and reservations must be made with a credit card.)

On its website, Sushi Kiwami explains.

“The fresh ingredients we use in Sushi Kiwami are airlifted from fish markets in Japan. The menus created by our Michelin-starred chefs strive to create a good sense of elegance and balance. The ability of our chefs to distinguish the temperature, flavor and aging time of food guarantees the high standards of our dishes.

Those interested in tasting some of these air-flown fish should make online reservations for one of the restaurant’s two services per evening.

Dana Wu from Richmond is a big sushi lover, but said Kiwami’s prices were out of its category and the reservation policy would stress her out.

“I would rather go to a more affordable, family-friendly sushi restaurant near my home. Dining should be a pleasant and stress-free experience, ”Wu said.

However, Lucas Kong, also from Richmond, said it was understandable that a restaurant like this implemented such a cancellation policy.

“From the store owner’s perspective, the ingredients come from Japan and chefs should always thaw the meat in advance. If customers cancel the reservation without notice or give only short notice, they are not allowed to put the ingredients back in the fridge for serving to the next customer, it is against their service rules. Therefore, the ingredients will be wasted if some consumers do not show up, ”Kong explained.

Also, Kong added, the reservation and cancellation policy is even more complicated for many similar restaurants in Japan.

In addition to prices and policies, management requires proper etiquette, which includes asking before taking a photo, keeping your voice low, and not wearing perfume or other cosmetics with strong smells that could interfere with the “delicate flavors of Japanese cuisine,” the website says.

Another Richmondite, Dicken Lau, who has worked at Michelin starred restaurants in the past, said Michelin restaurants have extremely high standards, which is how expensive the menu can be.