Not all stars and celebrities enjoyed the attention. Heath Leader and Leonard DiCaprio were those, who did everything to avoid the attention. Both of them came late night, mostly during weeknights, dressed in regular clothing, with a baseball hat and sat quietly at the corner table, away from the other restaurant patrons. They never made a fuss, loud noise, or drunk too much sake or beer. They just walked in, sat down, ordered and ate the sushi, just like all the other customers. (OK, not all of them: some of the customers came to just party.) I’ve seen many celebrities like that: Helen Hunt, Paula Cole, Anthony Hopkins to name a few. When they arrived, we sensed that they wanted us to treat them just like other people. I suspected it was because they get enough attention from other people and maybe, they just wanted to things to be “normal” so that they could enjoy their sushi. In return, we treated the no different from other guests. I never treated them differently, gave them better fish, nor expected them to give us more tips than necessary.
When I saw Denzel Washington in the back parking lot after parking his black Porsche, he told me, in the same enthusiastic manner we all see in his movies, that something about the sharp hill and blind spot making it difficult to park, so I said thank you for pointing that out.
Former Red Hot Chill Peppers guitarist Dave Navarro loved our special: Seared Tuna Sashimi with Avocado and Salsa. He came and visit us twice, sometimes three times in a week, ordering this special Sashimi every time. Most of the time, he placed “to go” order and when we got those orders in, we knew it was him and greeted him saying, “Dave-san,” when he arrived to pick up his order. Dave-san was quite but friendly and we aways enjoyed his company.
The other person who loved the same special was Steve Tyrell. He started to come for lunch, right after Saito-san decided to open for lunch. During the lunch hours of 12PM-4PM, hardly anyone came to Rock ‘n’ Hollywood Sushi. It was a Rock ‘n’ Roll Sushi join and no one would come for lunch, Toshi said. Saito-san decided to open anyway. As Toshi said, we hardly got any customers, though, Steve came in for lunch more than any other customers. On a good day, there were ten customers and most of the time, four to six. When we started to seeing him, I had no idea who he was. Upon seeing the Seared Tuna Sashimi with Avocado and Salsa, he ordered one and immediately said that was the best Sashimi he ever had. He came back the following day and ordered the same thing, looking a bit shy. He still said that the Sashimi was excellent and started to come almost every day for lunch. Sometimes he ordered two Sashimis. Sometimes he came for lunch, and came back a few hours later for dinner. We found out that he was a Jazz vocalist and his Jazz album at that time was No.1 on Billboard’s Jazz chart.
When we congratulate him on his album being No.1, he said thank you and later brought a signed copy of CD to all the Sushi chefs as a gift.
Axel Rose came in one night, and he was sitting with a couple of people, talking quietly. It looked like some kind of business meeting. Toshi asked him for a photograph and he told Axel how much he enjoyed his music. Axel was kind enough to offer him a ticket to the concert that was coming up. He said he will have someone send Toshi some tickets later. Toshi got so excited, however, he never received them in the mail.