Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tokyo Delve's

First off - please excuse my blog absence as of late. It's not owing to a lack of Doing Stuff. On the contrary, I think I done did too much stuff, and apparently it's easy for me to feel overwhelmed and incapable of documenting these events. So I'll try to get caught up. This will take us back a few weeks, to a birthday celebration at Tokyo Delve's.

[Pictures for today's post provided by Barry. You're very lucky, you know. Because my pictures were simply awful.]

Tokyo Delve's sushi restaurant is an experience like no other. Well, I'm sure similar establishments exist, but this is the only sushi place I've ever been to that's resulted in me punching an ice cream cake, later being kicked out of a karaoke bar Jazzy-Jeff-on-Fresh-Prince-of-Bel-Air-style (you know what I mean), and winding up hosting an after party with my friends and 5 randos my sister acquired from the local grocery store at 1 am. And this was just what happened one of the times I went. There are other horror stories for other visits. But more on that later.

Actually, no. No more on that later. I think you get the picture and I'd really rather save myself the embarrassment. Suffice it to say this place effs your s up.

Whenever asked for advice on what someone should do for an upcoming birthday or to entertain an out of town visitor, Tokyo Delve's is always my recommendation. Of course, the moment I say the name I feel a little queasy. It is not for the faint of heart. Or the regrettably old at heart 20 somethings like me.

In order to go to this place, you must make a reservation for one of 3 nightly seatings. It's pretty much like dinner theater. Like Medieval Times but better. When you arrive at the restaurant, you check in with clipboard-holding security personnel who check you off the list, give you a wrist band (you know nothing civilized ever comes from something requiring wrist bands), and ask you to wait in line until it's time for your show.

There's Barry holding the camera. Can you find me?

The line outside is one of my favorite parts of the evening because it's only a matter of time before the doors open and unleash the crowd from the previous show. When this happens, a group of screaming maniacs comes spilling out, all of them about to face-plant into the side walk, or perhaps wander carelessly into traffic. The women, dressed in outfits that were probably sexy at one point in the evening, now have mini skirts riding up to terrible heights. Their strapless tops sag dangerously low. They are either stumbling around in their platform heels, or barefoot, having given up and elected to carry their shoes (or having some how lost them completely).

And the outpouring of the drunks was as entertaining as ever on our recent trip to TD's for Becca and Shannon's birthday excitement. One man walked out still chowing on sushi rolls. Another guy stood in the street, quietly trying to take pictures, while nearly being hit by a bus. I couldn't look away. The hands-down highlight was the fighting couple. The woman, a raving, near-barfing lunatic. The man, calmly trying to stop her from stabbing him with a stiletto. I'm not sure what they were fighting about, but as we stood at the back of the line we had a good view of the chaos. She pushed him away; he approached, trying to make amends. She threatened to dive into the street; he and their friends restrained her. She screamed in his face; he decided he'd had enough and began to walk away. This of course only worked to anger her further. Then came the slapping and clawing. I know, it should have made me feel bad for the both of them, but our show was about 1 hour late to start and something had to keep us busy.

Finally it was time to enter. While walking in the front door, the waitstaff greeted us with high fives and fist bumps.

The decor of the restaurant is exactly right. Picture a banquet hall, with rows and rows of tables, tightly packed in so that your back pretty much touches the back of the person sitting directly behind you. The walls of this place are painted black and the lighting is provided by strings of Christmas lights hung haphazardly, giving the room the feel of a party in a frat house basement.

But it's not the look of the place that encourages the excessive drinking. It's the mini kegs and bottles of sake placed in front of customers within seconds. And mere seconds after that, the waiter instructs everyone on how to assemble a sake bomb. Fill your beer glass about half way, balance your chopsticks atop the glass, and teeter the little sake cup between the chopsticks. Ready?

Now it's time for the shouting by the waitstaff. Oh, the shouting.
"When I yell sake, you say bomb. Sake!"
Then you pound your fists madly on the table until the little sake cup lands in your beer, at which point the entire table is soaked, and you and your friends chug the whole terrible concoction. Lather, rinse, repeat.

You see how things are about the get out of hand.

The rest of the dinner consists of average tasting sushi served in waves on large trays to your table. Then there is much standing on chairs and dancing. Then the waitstaff performs a few dance numbers.

And lastly, there is the Splitting of the Check, which is always the worst point in the evening for 3 reasons. 1. It turns out to be horrendously expensive. 2. Everyone is too drunk to pay attention to the math. 3. No one wants to pay for anything and believes somehow they owe $20.

The Splitting of the Check has lead to serious fights on more than one of my visits. My advice for anyone planning a night out to TD's is to force everyone to agree to split the check evenly, no matter what, or prepare to spend 45 minutes arguing with your friends while the restaurant empties out.

Thankfully, on this visit we had agreed to split everything evenly between everyone, so the process was rather painless. Well, it still made me die a little inside to hand over all that money, but at least no one was punching anyone else.

I had fun. I always do. But this visit came well over 2 years after the one before it. And I think that in that time I managed to calm down a little, so I kept the sake bombing under control. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that I simply cannot handle hangovers anymore, and I can't sacrifice a Saturday to feeling like hell. There's too much housework to be done, errands to run. It's a sad reality, but a comfortable one.

In conclusion, as much as I sincerely urge everyone to try this place, it's definitely something you only need to do once. Or, in my case, 6 times but the 6th time is the last. Really.


  1. Last time?! Pish posh. Definitely a change from my last civilized birthday at Fox and Hounds.

  2. The 7th will be in August when I come to visit... bwaaaaaaah!

  3. The awesome list:

    1. punching an ice cream cake
    2. 5 randos
    3. ..and believes they somehow owe $20
    4. ...tightly packed in so that your back pretty much touches the back of the person sitting directly behind you

    Made me almost cry list:

    1. It's a sad reality but a comfortable one

    Welcome back!