The first rule of Coach Sushi is that there are a lot of rules. Seven, to be exact, presented with the help of liberal bolding, underlining, and red type on a laminated piece of paper distributed at every table. This is seven more than your average sushi/sake place, but they are warranted: Coach (or, more specifically, its $3.75 bottomless sake deal) has, after all, gained a reputation for, ah, conviviality — a reputation that is, in fact, addressed with charming frankness in said rule book: “there are some customers that just came to drink Masu sake … some ignore our warnings and got sick by drinking others.” At any rate, there they are, with sentiments ranging from the gently comforting (“Just remember, you don’t have to finish your sake if you can’t”) to the dispassionately informative (“sake contains 16% alcohol”) to the ever-so-slightly defensive (“Our MASU SAKE is not all you can drink. It is ‘refillable sake’ with dinner or food”). Though probably the most important one should be don’t attempt bottomless sake on a Wednesday night, you fucking idiot. Oops.
This is what I remember: There was sushi and there were little squarish cedar boxes and there was sake and there was Coach himself — fastidious, friendly in a way that transcends standard customer service, ceaselessly committed to Getting You Drunk — and he came by every so often to refill the boxes with the sake. The space is small and sparsely decorated and well-lit and full mostly of people doing exactly what you are doing. Near the door, a glade of those cedar boxes — which can be painted, stored at the restaurant, and reused on a later visit — sit like a darkly comic children’s project. The sushi is pretty average and the sake is pretty bad; whether officially refillable or all you can drink, it appears that you do indeed get what you pay for, though you are, on some level, paying less for the booze itself than the wholehearted approval of Coach/the restaurant/society to get really drunk on a Wednesday. “Thank you for your understanding,” the list of rules concludes.