Sunday evening Dave and I made our way to our friend Tom's birthday party, being held at one of my favorite restaurants, Ran-Getsu. Ran-Getsu is a chain of restaurants in Japan, the one in Orlando is the only one outside of Japan, so needless to say the food is authentic, and ranked at #4 out of 9,000 Japanese restaurants in the country, only 2 places behind the famed Nobu... its a REALLY good place. Good as in authentic, not fancy and frilly.
Everybody sprung for sushi, I decided to have another go at urchin, since the first time I had it, it was horribly off and I lost my taste for it. Ran-Getsu's was wonderful.. the best way to describe it is that it tastes of the sea, similar to the flavor of crab eaten fresh from the shell, or the juice of an oyster.. but with a texture of butter. Oh it was good.
Just about everyone in the party decided to opt for Ran-Getsu's most popular, Suki Yaki. Its a fix it yourself dinner... which I love, a really interactive way of eating. They bring out a big plate of finely sliced beef, and another plate of assorted veggies and potato noodles. You start by heating up some oil and fat in the pot, then add a couple strips of beef, until cooked to your liking, dipping them in raw egg briefly (youve got to trust the restaurant!) to cool it down before plopping it onto your little rice bowl. The veggies are added, along with a concoction with soy sauce and dashi.. and another which is a clear seaweed broth, both in little pots that you can add as you feel necessary. You just keep going on like this until the plates are empty, and your tummy is full. Such a fun experience. They also do Shabu Shabu, which is almost identical, except instead of grilling, you do your cooking in a big boiling pot of mild broth. And instead of egg for dipping, you get a wonderfully flavorful sesame sauce.
Tom had the great idea of asking about an ice cream he had tried in San Fransisco, called Mochi Ice Cream. Little balls of ice cream wrapped in a thin rice dough, so you can pick them up with your fingers. To our joy, our host Haru ran off to the kitchen and returned to tell us that they could arrange us to have Mochi. It was SOOooo good. Three flavors they gave us, red bean, green tea, and vanilla. I really enjoyed the green tea. I found a recipe for mochi ice cream online, I am JUST crazy enough to try to make it.
Needless to say it was a fun night, always even better when everyone there is really enjoying the food and experience too, the way this particular group of friends does.
If you ever find yourself in Orlando, and want a memorable dining experience.. Ran-Getsu my friend!