My husband and I are regulars at Yamada, a local Japanese restaurant. They know all of our idiosyncrasies, like my husband not being able to eat sesame seeds, and me liking extra teriyaki sauce. A few weeks ago we gave our waitress, Fang, a few bars of handmade wasabi scented soap as a small token of our appreciation for all the staff does for us throughout the year.
What happened the next time we ate at Yamada took us totally by surprise. At the end of our meal we were presented with a big beautifully gift wrapped box and wished a Happy New Year. Inside was a stunning framed Chinese embroidery. Needless to say we were overwhelmed. We gave the soap not wanting nor expecting anything in return. I even joked that we'd eat here anyway, even without the embroidery.
If you're looking for good Japanese food in a casual atmosphere, visit the folks at Yamada, 3811 East Tremont Avenue in Bronx, NY (718) 409-3528. Reservations are not necessary. We're big fans of the noodles that come with their hibachi dinners.