It is really difficult in this day and age to experience discrimination as a white man, but there’s one Japanese restaurant in Beaverton where you can have just that. I won’t mention its name, just because I’m nice and I don’t want to cause trouble for it and therefore all the Japanese natives who depend on it for a delicious reminder of home, but I won’t be going back for more of that treatment. Not that the young woman owner would care, truth be told.
Three times we called and made reservations. Our reservations were taken. When we showed up, lo and behold, there was no such reservation on record. And none of the empty tables were available for us because they were set for people who did have their reservations on record.
The first time, we believed the line that a mistake must have been made and waited 45 minutes for a table, simply because I’d heard from Japanese clients that it was the best home style Japanese restaurant in the entire Portland area. And it was worth the wait. Soft and succulent scallops, blackened cod, and salmon. A mild but savory eggplant. Smoky soba. Sapporo on tap. The second time, it was on an off night and we only had to wait 15 minutes. The third time, we were simply turned away.
I don’t think the owner stops to say, “Oh, white person. I won’t seat them.” I think she simply doesn’t treat our call as importantly as she does the calls from Japanese. That is indeed a form of discrimination.
So, I’m ready to try some of the other homestyle, small plate Japanese eateries in town (I hear there’s a good one in Hillsboro), and even if they aren’t quite as good, the experience hopefully will compensate for it.