With snow crab and top class Japanese beef, both under one roof and indeed, on the same table, we found quite a treat at Rangetsu.
The two specialities at Rangetsu are both dishes you must try. And if you aren’t going to do so while you are in Tokyo, then you may never get the chance. To be able to eat both top class beef and sashimi grade snow crab, each prepared and served in ways that make the best of their different characteristics, in the same restaurant, is something of a rarity even here.
Top class Japanese beef has a reputation the world over and perhaps should be treated as a completely different proposition to the steaks many westerners are used to. The flesh is marbled with fat all the way through which means the texture will be the finest possible.
Tradition persists at Rangetsu, which was founded by the grandfather of its current owner in 1947 after he moved to Tokyo from Hyogo, the area near Kyoto famous for breeding the Tajima cows which are taken to Mie prefecture to become Matsuzaka beef. Only the finest grade A5 class meat is on the menu and it is served in ways that can be enjoyed by everyone.
Perhaps the most popular way to enjoy the beef is grilled, sukiyaki style, over a flame. A specially commissioned copper pot – invented at Rangetsu – its grill surface ingeniously tapered to take the oil away from the meat into a special reservoir designed to reduce smoke to near zero means that the cleanest flavour is guaranteed.
The meat is succulent without being over oily – all the excess grease is drained away and the essence, the true taste of the cut is allowed to shine through. The ingredients – 98% of which Rangetsu is proud to say, are from Japan – speak for themselves and very little embellishment is needed.
Sliced more thinly, various cuts of the sirloin are also offered shabu shabu style – dipping the meat in almost boiling water, sometimes with vegetables, in the centre of the table until it is just cooked how you like it means the texture is soft and almost melts in the mouth.
Snow crabs are famous for their sweet flesh and because Rangetsu offers a signature course which includes both crab and beef, diners get the best of both worlds. There are various ways to enjoy the crab. You might try it sashimi style, grilled on the sukiyaki grill or perhaps lightly boiled in the shabu shabu pot. The outside is lightly cooked but the inside remains creamy and almost rare – again the quality, which you cannot find outside Japan, speaks for itself.
You may also like to receive something of a sake masterclass in the restaurant’s cosy basement. This is way more than simply a bar but the concept is sake, and Rangetsu carries over 140 different kinds. Some are well known but hard to find, others extremely rare, but the master will carefully select the particular drink which will suit your tastes – from dry to sweet, sharp to soft and serve it any way you like it.
Lunch in the basement costs around 1,000 yen and in the upper floors from around 2,000 yen. Dinner ranges from 5,000 – 10,000 yen upwards depending on the course. For those who wish, private dining rooms are available on most floors for groups of between two and 16.
The Rangetsu website has an English menu, as does the restaurant. Some English is spoken by staff who will accomodate for your tastes by adapting courses where possible.
Address: Toyko-to, Chuo-ku, Ginza 3-5-8 (next to the Apple store in Ginza)
Open: Daily, 11am-3pm, 5pm-11pm