more good clean fun

Sushi Samba, Seventh & Christopher, in the oh-so-hip West Village
The bathroom at this disturbingly self-important restaurant is many things one does not expect a bathroom to be: confusing, cost-inefficient, involving of interpersonal contact, and quasi-coed-communal. Some questions that sprang to mind when first encountering the Sushi Samba bathroom experience are "why are there sinks that are in barrels?" and "why is there a curtain of leaves surrounding a cluster of sinks that are in barrels" and, perhaps most importantly, "why is this cluster of leaf-shrouded barrel-sinks sitting in the middle of an open space in the basement of the restaurant, and where the heck are the actual toilets?"
To answer the questions:
1) because apparently barrels are common to both Japan and South America, which are the two broadly-defined cuisines fused together to create the Sushi Samba kitchen philosophy.
2) because leaves are apparently also common to both cultures.
3) because it is sort of neat to have a communal sink area, and the toilets are off to your left, each to a private room behind a nondescript door. The private rooms in question are clean, quiet, and painted a lovely shade of teal. There are mirrors in the private rooms but no sinks, which is problematic when one has issues touching one's hair or adjusting one's makeup without having washed one's hands.

Perhaps the most exciting (and disconcerting) thing about the Sushi Samba Bathroom Experience is the guy by the sinks. He turns one of the barrel-sinks on when he sees you leaving your toilet-room, and as you approach the faucet he pumps a little bit of soap into your hand. Once you've rinsed, he opens a towel and gives it to you. He might want to wipe your hands for you, but I was freaked out and pulled away. Protocol, as I understand it, is to put a dollar into the plate in the middle of the barrel-sinks, as gratuity for the hand-washing. In this sense, it is not an entirely free bathroom. But I would say a dollar is worth the amusement.

My experience at Sushi Samba lead to two encounters with things I otherwise doubt I would have ever seen, each of which is a Questionable Bonus Point.
Questionable Bonus Point 1: Involuntarily seeing the naked breasts of the seating hostess, who seriously needs to reconsider wearing a plunging neckline without double-sided tape.
Questionable Bonus Point 2: Claire Danes, in a white YSL dress and silver strappy pointy shoes, getting out of a cab a block from the restaurant looking angry and resentful at the mere mortals standing between her cab and a fabulous party, and seemingly unaware of the extraordinary existence of sinks in barrels not a hundred yards away.


Anonymous said...

i would pay money to see claire danes pee. there's definitely a niche.

Marcin said...

I must say that I have come across the toilet attendant a few times in overpriced bars, where I believe they are quite common in London. I dislike this system, as I can more comfortably and efficiently wash my own hands.