On New Year's Eve, Chris and I had no plans. We hadn't been able to stay at my mom's to ring in the new year because Chris was flying to Las Vegas New Year's Day, so we knew we'd probably just go out to dinner and see a movie - which is what we did. We weren't the only ones with that idea, as you can imagine, and the Bridgeport Shopping Center near us was chock full of people - every restaurant had a 45+ minute wait... Except the new sushi place, Sinju.
I'd been eagerly anticipating its arrival, as the banner on the storefront while they were building looked intriguing. And though they were completely booked, there was no one at the bar - which, at a sushi restaurant, is my favorite place to sit.
They'd been open a whopping four days, so we were prepared to forgive them plenty of missteps - but they ended up not really having many. The sushi is unremarkable, but it's tasty enough (especially for a sushi restaurant in a mall, for pete's sake), and the decor is modern and visually interesting. The chairs at the sushi bar are a clear sort of plexiglass, and they pivot on what feels like a ball joint under the seat - a little challenging to get into, but reasonably comfortable once you're settled. The cocktail I had was quite nice, though I don't think there was as much vodka in it as a martini should have (I would've felt it, trust me). The service was hit or miss - either we had too much attention from our waitress, or she was nowhere in sight. The delivery of the food was the most annoying part of the dining experience. We were sitting right in front of the sushi chef who was filling our order, and yet we would get three rolls at once and then have to wait ages for the next two while he filled orders for the restaurant. (Again, while these things were annoying, we were quite forgiving, and plan to give them another chance.)
The next time we go, however, I will make damned sure I don't have to use the bathroom.
When I finally found the bathrooms that night, the manager was in the process of putting scotch tape over a hole in the door jamb underneath where it latched. "We've only been open four days," he stammered, "we're still learning things about the place - like these holes here? People have been catching their fingers in them!" I nodded, smiled, noted the location of the offending grabby-hole, and went into the open bathroom next to the one he was doctoring. (There are only two bathrooms, and they're unisex.)
Then came shock number one - the doors are made of a frosted glass. Now, while I can only hope that someone checked on this kind of thing before installing glass doors on a friggin' bathroom, I did have more than a little fear of being more on display than I'd like to be in that situation. When people came up to try the door (at which point I hoped the manager hadn't inadvertently put tape on the part where the door actually locked), I could see them much more clearly than I'd want to - and I had to assume that worked both ways, something I'm still not comfortable with.
Shock number two happened when I sat down (sorry, folks, this is about bathrooms, after all). The wall facing the toilet and behind the toilet are entirely made up of mirrors (the door wall and the wall opposite are stone or something). I realize that men might experience facing a mirror when they go to the bathroom with some regularity, but women do not. And frankly, there are few positions less flattering than staring at yourself in a mirror when you're on the toilet. Seriously. And I'm supposed to go back out into the restaurant with an appetite? I don't think so. If you're on a diet, go to the bathroom first - you won't eat anything.
Then came the final shock (number three, for those of you keeping track) - the sinks aren't in the bathrooms themselves, but rather in the hallway-like thing just outside the two glass doors, and in plain view of several tables in the restaurant. I can't see this as a good thing from either side - as the person who just used the bathroom, I want to be able to wash my hands, fix my lipstick, make sure there's no seaweed in my teeth, etc. in private; and as the diner, I don't want to be in the middle of a bite of unagi to look up and see someone who has just used the toilet not wash their hands.
In the final analysis, I liked the restaurant well enough that I'll be happy to try it again (after it's lost some of those opening-restaurant jitters), but I will never use the bathrooms there again unless it's a dire emergency.