I was with some friends for a visit to Nakama. We had been exploring Japanese Steakhouse/Teppenyaki style restaurants in the area for the past few months and Nakama was one that few of them had been to before.
Our visit did not start off very well. In fact it did not start for two whole hours are our 8:00pm reservations were not honored until 9:45. The entire time of which I was left standing there thinking about the Jerry Seinfeld skit, "You know how to take reservations, you just don't know how to HOLD the reservation and that is really the most important part. Anyone can take reservations..." Two hours. Two. 120 minutes... and this was on a Monday night too!
I'm sure that part of their inability to hold reservation was based on their desire to sell more over-priced drinks. They kept us from walking over to Mike & Tony's with a promise of "In a few minutes..." whenever we asked about our table.
Eventually (did I mention 2 hours?) we were seated at our table and the server came out and took our order. Another fifteen minutes later the most inept cook in the world started cooking for us.
When I say inept I'm talking about the entire gestalt of his cooking skills.
His "show" consisted of banging his salt shakers. He didn't spin the egg, he didn't catch a lemon on a fork. He didn't do the volcano. I think he lit something on fire after another chef at another table did so and we commented on how much fun that table was having.
His cooking was not only horrible (over-lemoned shirmp, over cooked chicken, etc) but he cooked individual food orders - individually. Example: He cooked the mid-rare steaks and put them on plates. He then cooked medium steaks and placed them on plates. He then cooked a well-done steak and put it on a plate, then he cooked the chicken. In a real teppenyaki place all the steaks are placed on the griddle at the same time and removed when the proper doneness is achieved. Chicken is being cooked at the same time. Not with this guy. If you waited for everything to show up on your plate, 90% of your food would be cold.
Here are two other annoying things - the first is that the server would not reach over our shoulders to serve us like they do in every other teppenyaki place in the world. This caused the chef to stop cooking as she walked into his area, and then he would have to "reset" before going back to cooking. Second, as the server was boxing our to-go food she kept licking her fingers when separating the plastic bags. I'm not a germaphobe, but that is just gross.
Finally - the sauces were sub-par, the salad was disgusting and I have yet to have good sushi at Nakama. Ranking them on sushi alone I'd put them at the bottom of the list for Pittsburgh. It takes too long to get your order, the rice is too dry and the presentation is average.