Sure, Benihana has over 110 locations worldwide, but I know most are not in the basement of a two-thousand-square-foot single-family suburban home. I’ve personally visited Benihana in the past—on a DATE, Brian, because I had other romantic partners before we met—but that particular location did not have a two-car garage or a novelty mailbox in the shape of a fish, although I suppose it would reflect the restaurant’s delicious sushi menu. That’s just sensible branding, Brian. Benihana is more than great teppanyaki.
I remember walking through this house with the real estate agent three years ago. We definitely discussed the UNFINISHED basement. I even walked into a cobweb, Brian. You laughed affectionately and called me your “little mummy.” I also remember later that night when I playfully chased you, going, “Currrse, CURRRSE.”
I’ll tell you what I don’t remember: A discussion about a basement restaurant featuring ten teppan-style griddle tables, each with comfortable seating for eight people.
At no stage during our subsequent home inspection did we encounter a staff of at least fifteen people, including several rigorously-trained teppanyaki chefs. I have enjoyed meeting the employees when they emerge upstairs to pet the dog or smoke outside. However, some of the hostesses can be surly. But I know for a fact none of these individuals were in the house before. Unless this is some sort of Parasite situation. Are we doing Parasite now, Brian? There are more proactive ways to address society’s many tragic disparities. We’ve talked about this.
When we first moved in, my clothing did not smell of sizzling USDA-Choice beef. My boss at work never took me aside for a “confidential conversation” about my “strongly scented shrimp and noodle shampoo.” That is a recent issue. It was a weird conversation, Brian. Also, he would like a reservation on Saturday. For ten people. At 8:00 p.m. It’s his birthday, Brian!
Did corporate even sign off on this? What would the late Hiroaki Aoki—founder of Benihana and father of megastar DJ Steve Aoki—say if he knew this was happening? I’ll tell you who DOES know, Brian: the neighbors. If they weren’t getting happy-hour pricing on top of an already reasonably priced and tantalizing menu, I’m pretty sure we’d have some legal problems here. I’m not even sure where to find an attorney who specializes in defending secret residential eatery franchisees, no matter how successful the restaurant concept is. That’s not the kind of law I studied at Tufts, Brian. I don’t think this comes up a lot.
Here’s the thing: I don’t actually care about any of that stuff. I’m not upset about the perpetually stinky house, or the rowdy customers, or the occasional visits from the fire department. I just don’t like the gaslighting, Brian. No, I don’t mean the industrial stoves; I mean the lies.
That’s what hurts. And I don’t know how our relationship can recover.
But an onion volcano is a good start.