During the two and half years working at Rock ‘n’ Hollywood Sushi, I saw more Hollywood Movie Stars and Rock’ n Roll Singers than any period in my life. Some stories are funny and some are interesting.

Here is the funny one.

It was Friday afternoon around 4PM, time for me to go on a break. So, I made some Thai noodle called Bah Mi, with crabmeat. I made two servings: one for me and one for Mia. We were the only people in the restaurant and we sat at the one end of the sushi bar.  Suddenly, two customers walked in. They sat the opposite end of the sushi bar and grabbed the menu, when one of them, one with a huge plastic comb on his head and a pair of shades, looked at us and what we were eating and said, “Hey, what is it that you are eating?”

“It’s Thai Noodle I made,” I told the guy.

“I want that,” the man said quickly.

“It’s employee meal I cooked and it’s not on the menu. So it’s not available for you to order.”

He looked quite shocked, which left him speechless.

His friend told him to order from the menu. There was something strange about the way talked and behaved like they were “on” something. I sensed that they were high on drugs, like marijuana. They ended up ordering the standard fair like California Roll, Shrimp Tempura Roll and Salmon Nigiri, with a bottle of Sapporo and glass of sake. After spending quick twenty minutes or so, they walked out the restaurant and we never saw them again.

“Did you realize who it was?” Mia asked me. She had somewhat amused and surprised look on her face.

“No, I don’t know who it was,” I said to her.

“It was Bobby Brown, the singer, you know?”

“Oh, yeah, now you mention it, yes, I remember his face now. I’ve seen him on TV and music videos.”

“You said No to Bobby Brown. That was too funny,” Mia said.

A few months later, a tall black woman walked into the Rock ‘n’ Hollywood Sushi and sat at the sushi bar. It was early in the afternoon, around 5PM. I immediately recognized her as Whitney Houston. She ordered six pieces of Shrimp tempura as an appetizer, so I put the order into Pedro in the kitchen. “Seis Camarones,” I said. I had a bad feeling about this because the Shrimp Tempura Pedro made never came our right. I had no idea what he did, maybe it was the tempura batter or the temperature of the oil. I know Tempura is simple: it’s just frying ingredients in oil, however I can never figure out how to make a perfect Tempura. In Japan, there are restaurants serving only Tempura and just like a sushi chef, there are many Master Tempura Chefs. One of them, Saotome-san is said to revolutionize the modern tempura. I’ve never been to his restaurant to taste his tempura and hoping to have that opportunity to visit and taste his tempura soon.

Ms. Houston never ordered anything else from the sushi bar. No nigiri, no sashimi, just shrimp tempura and cup of Green Tea. When Pedro brought six large Tempura Shrimps out with dipping sauce, Whitney picked up one of them said, “These are no Shrimp Tempura. The real Shrimp Tempura never look like these. They look different. They are too fat and too thick.”

I knew this was coming.

“I’m sorry, should I send it back?” I asked.

“No, that’s OK,” and she ended up eating three pieces of Shrimp Tempura and left the restaurant within five minutes.

Later I heard about Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown getting a divorce. I gathered they must have been in town to discuss the details. I have no idea what Bobby Brown was going through back then and I suspect that emotionally, it must have been difficult for him, judging by the way he behaved when I saw him.

One of the regulars was Mexican singer, Luis Miguel. He came and sat at the Sushi bar many times and every time he came, all the Latino guys got extremely excited and asked for his autograph, took pictures with him. It wasn’t comical, but for some reason, the way those Latino guys excited looked funny because they acted like small children gone crazy. Rushing back and forth inside of the restaurant, forgetting that they were at work. Some of the waiters forgot to bring out the orders to the table and instead, they flocked around Luis and engaged in a conversation, as if to say, “Forget work. I am busy. This is more important, to hang out with Luis Miguel.”

I knew about Luis Miguel and heard of his songs before, seen on TV and magazines, but I had no idea how big he was. When I asked about Luis, Javier said he is like a god in Mexico and all the South American countries, next to Julio Iglesias. Toshi, Kai, Jun and I had almost no interest in his music, so to us, it was just another customer, sitting at the sushi bar, enjoying the sushi.

Luis did seem to enjoy the attention he was receiving and was grateful for all the people to be his fan. He was very nice, smiling all the time and had the charismatic aura around him, infecting everyone around him, though, most of the non-Latino customers in the restaurant had no idea who he was and what was going on.


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