My BFF has, shall we say, an unenviable birth date — Dec. 26. We usually celebrate together in January for logistic reasons, and this year, we may have discovered a new tradition by trekking out to the hills of Sunderland and the hidden gem that is Goten of Japan.
A hibachi and sushi restaurant, Goten has been in the same spot for years. But it’s been renovated fairly recently, and judging by the crowd we waded through at the front door, has gained quite a following.
That said, if this is indeed to become a tradition, we have learned a few pointers for future visits. Allow me to share.
1. First and foremost, wear loose fitting clothing (but nothing flammable). The portions are generous at the hibachi tables; a dinner includes a shrimp appetizer, soup, salad, noodles, veggies, protein of choice – scallops, shrimp, sirloin, or chicken – rice, and ice cream for dessert. Add sake and/or wine to the mix and you’ve got yourself a gut buster.
2. Get there on time. This place is bangin’. Reservations can be pushed back within a very small window; it’s a veritable race to the tables and the hibachi chefs with their tall hats and many knives. And onion volcanoes.
3. Get there as a group. Goten has a policy that tables aren’t seated until the entire group arrives. Our posse was coming from three different directions, so in the future, we’re going to have to either get there early and take advantage of the cute little bar, or find some other cute little bar in which to gather first. Or just plan better. I don’t know – these are all options.
4. Don’t be afraid to make friends. Each table accommodates eight people; we had six in our group, so these two guys, who were very fun and cool and who we’ll probably never see again, joined us. They only added to the fun, sharing sake pots and toasting with us.
5. Don’t be afraid of the fire, babehs.
6. Plan on leftovers. The packaging of the extra food is just another part of the experience.
Goten. Go big, go hungry, go crazy, go home. Not a bad little Saturday.