Restaurant as performance art

At restaurants in Japan, patrons are generally greeted with shouts of “irrashaimase”(welcome) with the same amount of gusto as fans at a hockey game. (A trend catching on in New York at places such as En and Matsuri). One of the highlights of my last trip to Tokyo was an evening at Inakaya, the perfect embodiment of restaurant as performance art, where the shouting didn’t stop at the door. It is a place where hotels send visiting movie stars and no surprise as it is hard to get out of there for less than $150 per person. A country-style grill, the raw ingredients are laid out in front of you to choose from, and the grill-meisters prepare and pass the food to you on wooden pizza paddles.

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