Saturday, October 16, 2010

My Last Lunch (Probably) in Ark Hills

Ark Hills, the complex of housing, offices, shops, and restaurants near the office where I worked until last Friday, is the first place I lived in Tokyo, and the first area with which I felt familiar. It's nicely laid out and upscale, frequented by lots of foreigners and businesspeople who live and work nearby. The restaurants, most serving non-Japanese cuisine, change at a fairly rapid pace, and there are only a few that have been there the entire two years I've been coming to them. Randy, where I went with a friend from my old office for what will probably be my last ever lunch in Ark Hills, is the third cafe to occupy the site at the top of the hill across from the rest of the complex. It's billed as "Beverly Hills/Tokyo" but I can't find any evidence online that such a place exists in Beverly Hills, USA. However, it's a very pleasant restaurant - the ambience inside is cozy, there's a wide terrace for seasonal outdoor seating, and the menu, though short, is diverse and tasty. Also, it boasts a large display case of cakes and sweets in front - always a good sign!
My friend ordered the salad lunch, which comes with a small bowl of soup (there was a choice of minestrone or the daily special, sweet potato), a plate of bread, and three types of jam. The salad was abundant and colorful, with all kinds of tender baby vegetables strewn across the lettuce leaves - I noticed sugar snap peas, asparagus, steamed broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. Considering how difficult it can sometimes be to find vegetables (not to mention vegetarian options) when eating out, Randy is a real oasis.
My choice was the mushroom curry, a baking-hot pottery bowl containing a Japanese-style curried stew of shimeji, shiitake, button, and maybe eringi mushrooms as well, with rice at the bottom and cheese melted on top. It came with a small side salad. Japanese curry is sweet, thick, and just barely spiced with the warm flavor of curry powder, and it soaks deliciously into rice. The combination of mushrooms, cheese, and rice, is something I often make for myself, and this dish was perfect for a cloudy, slightly chilly fall day. Though the bowl looked small, it was very filling, and I ended up having to pass on the delicious-looking cakes, after all. Even though I won't likely have another chance to visit Randy, I hope it manages to stay in business longer than its predecessors at this location.
Minato-ku, Roppongi 1-3-37
Ark Hills Annex

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