Thursday, May 22, 2014

Happy Happy Melon Pan Truck Returns!

To read a previous post, please click HERE.

I'm happy to report that the Happy Happy Melon Pan truck will be in front of Daiei Department Store starting tomorrow, Friday, May 23rd till Monday, May 26th.

Maybe I'll see you there!

Monday, May 5, 2014

UPDATE: Rigoletto リゴレット タパスラウンジ 022-716-0678


For my previous post on Rigoletto, please click HERE.
Address:  仙台市青葉区中央1-6-1.   Located across the street from the AER Building in between Hirose-dori and Chuo-dori.
Map:  Scroll down below.
Open 7 days a week from 11:30 am to 4 am, with lunch till 3 pm.
Last Saturday night, my good friends and I held a Welcome Home party for our dear friend, Yvonne, who requested to have it hosted at Rigoletto after remembering the wonderful food we were served at a company enkai we attended there over two years ago. 
As the organizer for the party I first checked Rigoletto’s website to see what types of party plans they offered.
Unfortunately, their websites are not easy to navigate, with many of their links being inactive.  The link I provided above should take you to their party plan menu.  After a few different searches, it appeared as if two options were available: one for 4500 yen and the other for 5000 yen.   I called the restaurant on the Sunday before to make a reservation for my party of six confirmed partygoers for the less expensive plan, which, according to the outdated web page, included ten separate dishes and a two-hour nomihoudai.   
I was informed that at least eight people were necessary to partake of the party plan.  I told them that perhaps more of my friends would join later, but that at the time I wasn’t sure, and asked if there was anything they could do.
They put me on hold and apparently consulted management.  After a few moments they came back and assured me that it would be okay this time to utilize the party plan with only six people, but that if it dropped to five then we would have to order a la carte.
We actually ended up with seven in total, or seven and a half, as one friend could not find a babysitter and brought her two-year-old son in tow.   She had contacted Rigoletto herself and asked if children were permitted.  The restaurant was very accepting and accommodating and did not charge any extra for her little boy.
After being seated we requested our first round of beverages in order to give a welcome toast to our dearly missed friend, Yvonne, but it seemed as if we waited and waited for all of our drinks to arrive.  This concerned a couple of us, as we are well aware that many restaurants have an iffy time schedule and often lack timely service when it comes to nomihoudais.  This did not seem a like a good sign.
But as the night progressed, so did their service.  Each platter was brought soon after the previous one had been finished.  And much to my surprise, as we were half way finished imbibing our refreshments, another round for all was brought to our table before we even had a chance to request them.  This artful customer attentiveness was greatly appreciated!
When it was time for “last call,” the waitress brought us multiple drinks to last well past the allotted two-hour time limit.  This brought smiles to everyone at the table!
But on to the food! 
The first platter served was the fish carpaccio.  This picky eater does not like seafood, but since I was paying a little more than usual for an enkai, I decided that I was going to try everything.  I’m so glad I did!  This was so tasty that  I even had a second helping!


Next came the ham platter with green olives, with four different types of ham.  Being a meat lover, this initially looked tempting.  But again, my pickiness had predetermined that I wanted nothing to do with the green olives.  The ham slices were nice, but nothing special.  And since I was going to get my money’s worth, I popped an olive into my mouth just out of principle.  Rigoletto was batting two for two with foods that I formerly detested, as these olives were great!  I popped a few more in my mouth before the night was through.


Following this was the bacon and mushroom platter, which I did not see listed on the website.  Succulent is the best word to describe this!

Bacon and Mushrooms

Another surprise soon came with the hot bread with escargot and shrimp in a butter garlic dip.  I’m picky, remember?  Escargot is not something a picky eater indulges in.  But with the invitingly buttery garlic aroma wafting through the air, I could not resist.   Magnificent!  I couldn’t stop dipping!  And the bread was delicious in its own right!

Bread with Escargot and Shrimp in Butter Garlic Sauce

The Chef’s Salad was good, despite the cheese (I really don’t like cheese), but my friends seemed to enjoy this.


The Margherita pizza was terrific!  The crust had a flavor all its own, and the toppings just seemed like a bonus.


Two varieties of pasta were then brought at the same time, one with scallops and the other with bacon, cheese, and eggplant, although, I could be mistaken about these ingredients.  Either way, both were delicious!

Pasta with Scallops

Pasta with Bacon, Cheese, and Eggplant

The finale was the gigantic dessert platter!  Each person was able to devour a fruit tart, a slice of chocolate cake, cheesecake, and two other cakes.  I preferred the chocolate slice myself, while most at my table praised the cheesecake.


A close-up of my dessert plate!

Even though we paid a higher price than most restaurants charge for a party plan, my friends and I all seemed to be in agreement that this was an excellent and satisfying choice for a party.  While preparing the photos for this post, I noticed that we were actually served only nine dishes, but I believe they actually brought us two pizzas, which would then add up to a total of ten servings.
To be honest, I was quite surprised that Rigoletto was able to accommodate us on such short notice during Golden Week.  I appreciated that the staff member Chisato-san contacted me during the week to confirm my plans.
If you have a party to plan, I highly recommend Rigoletto!  The food was fantastic and the service superb!
It’s a bit pricier than other places, but you get what you pay for.  Actually, I think you get more than what you pay for at Rigoletto!

View Larger Map