- March 31, 2016
While it is happily new to Maitland, RanGetsu restaurant — now in its third generation of the Konaka family — has evolved since the elder Mr. Konaka opened the original RanGetsu in Tokyo more than 60 years ago. RanGetsu is not new to Central Florida — it opened on International Drive in the 1980s. Now the Konaka family has partnered with Hector Ponce to create one of the most beautiful restaurants in all of Central Florida.
The Konaka family first introduced the world-famous Kobe steak to Japan, and those steaks still hold their honored — and melt-in-your-mouth — place on the menu. For those who seek traditional Japanese cuisine, it is now served in a super-chic new restaurant in which the design literally elicits oohs and ahhs around every corner. And while the design element may cause the host to check his wallet, I am happy to report that pricing is low for the extraordinary quality of the food that comes to your table.
Your guests can easily make a meal of the appetizers. The citrus-marinated conch ceviche had me doing my food happy dance from its first amazing spoonful. Moving on to the popular Robata, I recommend the bacon-wrapped asparagus and the spicy pork sausage. The fun of Robata is that you can order as many different ones as you wish, taking your time to savor each taste sensation, and the presentation — on double skewers — is just part of the fun.
You can choose to sit at the most upscale sushi bar this reviewer has ever seen, but no matter where you sit, you must try at least two of their traditional-with-a-creative-twist sushi offerings. We tried the Kobe, crab, chicken katsu and the shrimp BLT rolls. In a close race, the shrimp BLT was voted our favorite. My dining partner said, “Don’t dare to put that Shrimp BLT (roll) in soy sauce until you’ve tasted it … as created.” And that was true for all the dishes. I have never written this before, but while sauces are offered with most of the dishes at RanGetsu, I beg you to please try these wonderful tastes as they are prepared. They are that good.
While the Kobe steaks (prepared table-side on a Mt. Fuji lava stone) represent a financial decision, we opted for the angus rib-eye cap steak. The rib-eye cap is cut at 12 ounces and is more tender than most filets. My dining partner orders the rib-eye at every restaurant he visits and has tried hundreds. His comment: “This is the best, most tender steak I have ever had in my life. The sign of a great steak is not that it’s so good you don’t want to share it, but that it’s so good that you do want to share it.”
My order of broiled Chilean sea bass surpassed my fondest hopes. All buttery richness and served with a hint of miso and teriyaki, I peeled back layer after layer of fish fillet to lovingly savor each healthy bite. RanGetsu is led by Executive Chef Yuichiro Yamanaka, a 15-year veteran of the former International Drive location. His creativity combined with respect for authentic Japanese traditions has raised the bar for all of Central Florida’s restaurants.
Sometimes you visit a restaurant that has great food or great service or perfect ambiance. This place has it all! One word sums up the RanGetsu dining experience: Amazing, amazing, amazing — one word well worth repeating.
RanGetsu is at the Village of Lake Lily, 901 S. Orlando Ave. (Highway 17-92) in Maitland. They are open for lunch Monday-Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinner is offered daily from 5:30-9:30 p.m. The bar is open nightly until midnight. The Orchid Lounge is open Thursday through Saturday until 2 a.m. Call 407-345-0044 for reservations.