HOME > Chowhound > Outer Boroughs >

Discussion

Ran Japanese Restaurant in Forest Hills

Anyone tried this place? It doesn't look too promising (I walked by it last night at around 9:30 on my way to DB Wine Bar and it was totally empty) but, well, guess I'm just desperate for another good restaurant in the neighborhood. Would love to hear feedback if anyone's been. Thanks, Sarah

http://www.avenuefood.com

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. I was at RAN on Saturday night, incidentally after not being able to get into DB without a wait, and it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. From the outside it's hard to tell if it's any different than any other Japanese restaurant in Queens with an awning, but it is. First off, it's Japanese owned, which is a good start in my book considering that all of the Japanese restaurants in Queens are owned by Chinese and Koreans.

    The food I thought was quite authentic as well. The sushi was very fresh and delicate, the miso soup nice and smokey and the futomaki roll very fresh and tasty. Also fantastic, was the very simple but very tasty tuna & avocado salad. It was just a few large fresh peices of tuna and several pieces of avocado in a ponzu or citrusy sauce. Excellent. The interior was a nice departure as well, with celdaon walls Klimt paintings and no blonde wood or lanterns.

    I highly recommend and will be back again myself.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mistahone

      Just tried it tonite and was also pleasantly surprised. The host was very friendly. We also noted that he was Japanese and spoke Japanese to the (Japanese) family eating on the next table.

      We didn't try the sushi, but judging by the tuna/avocado salad, the sushi would be fresh and high quality. The knife work and presentation of the avocado salad was simple but nice. (the chef is an older man -- Ran - is appropriate because I can picture him in a Kirasawa film)

      Since its been so cold, we tried the Crab Udon. Light udon, with a slightly thickened clear egg drop broth, - not imitation crab meat. It had a light flavor, very good.
      I've been fighting a cold so I decided on the the tofu steak w. mushroom sauce... which also had a nice light flavor. Delicate tofu w/ string beans and carrots and enoki sauce... fresh ingredients and cooked till tender but not mushy.
      The chef uses sauces that are flavorful, but not overpowering.

      If you want authentic Japanese and a change from the usual Chinese sushi joints, this is a cozy alternative. I will return to try the sushi.

      1. re: Sichin

        I was there again this past Sunday and it was as good as the first time. This time we tried the plum & shiso leaf roll which was quite good and intense although maybe not to everyone's liking. The host also brought out what I believe was a red miso soup which was above and beyond the usual miso. I'm looking forward to trying some of the cooked dished on my next visit.

    2. Where is this place exactly?

      1 Reply
      1. re: DaveS

        It's on Metropolitan Ave across the street and a little bit west of DB Wine Bar.

      2. Do either places have parking? if not, how is the street parking situation? Thanks!

        1. We did takeout from RAN last night. The owner/chef looked like he knew his stuff. I ordered a salmon hand roll and his reply was that it wouldn't taste good if not eaten fresh. The sashimi deluxe was excellent, and it had scallop and (I think) mackerel with the usual. The miso eggplant was great too. We'll definitely go again.

          I hope this place has longevity. I don't want to have to go to Sato for sushi again!

          1. I'm so glad that some interest is being generated about this place. This ws my earlier post http://www.chowhound.com/topics/382801

            1. We went there again tonight. The sashimi deluxe was amazing again -- very fresh and impeccably sliced. The salmon handroll was superb. Had the chicken with cashews (forgot the name, starts with a 'K') and it was delicious.

              Sadly, business is lacking, and I really hope it picks up. They really know what they are doing. Do try it out!

              1. Hi; I know the owner b/c he was a chef at my parents Japanese restaurant in midtown for over 20 years. After my parents retired, he opened up Ran. I grew up in FH so I really do hope he succeeds there as I love that neighborhood. Any constructive criticism is very welcome njcaramelo@gmail.com.

                3 Replies
                1. re: njcaramelo

                  this is a true jewel of a place in queens. it is very rare these days to have a japanese-owned and operated japanese restaurant. i can only think of one other in queens - the little fast-food place, nebuta, in astoria. not that there is anything wrong with korean/chinese owned japanese restaurants, but they offer something different than a true japanese place.

                  ran - if going by japanese pronounciation, please pronounce it "RAHN", not "RAN" as in he "ran" as fast as he could. :-) anyway, i wouldn't consider it being in forest hills. it's more like maspeth to me, at least. but whatever, i don't want to get too picky about a little detail.

                  the food was impeccable. it was so refreshing to have good and fresh slices of sashimi, instead of big, fat thick slices of sashimi as found in many places (big does not mean good). the sushi chef handled the sashimi with such care. we had the sashimi regular - it came with octopus, fluke, yellowtail, tuna, salmon, mackarel, all presented gorgeously with various seaweed, lemon slices and other pretty aesthetic additions.

                  we had the short rib beef in a nice sweet sauce as well, it was done so well. if you know korean food - this dish was like galbi-jjim, but better!

                  the agedashi tofu was also done very nicely.

                  overall, it was one of the better meals we had lately. the only problem is that it gets so DEAD in here - i would HATE for a place like this to not be in business, so PLEASE take the time to check it out! you won't be disappointed!

                  this was also the first time that i went to a japanese restaurant in queens where the patrons were more japanese than not! that's always a good and comforting sign to my boyfriend (100% japanese) and i (1/4 japanese - but who's counting? haha).

                  thanks for the recommendation, i will be bringing my boyfriend's family back in a few weeks... japanese people always appreciate a true japanese restaurant.

                  1. re: Linda

                    Location is important if you're sending people there, and I don't know what map you're consulting, but it's absolutely Forest Hills..Forest Hills isn't just Austin Street..it borders Forest Park, on the Metropolitan side...Maspeth is no where near Forest Hills..--can't imagine how you came up with this? Kew Gardens on Metrop starts after Jackie Robinson Pkwy---it's definitely in Forest Hills, just the quiet side, not the more busy Austin Street area...Although I didn't have a great exchange when I went there considering some takeout veg sushi, I have however reccomended the place to a few people looking for authentic Japanese.

                    1. re: janie

                      thanks for the clarification. i rarely come out to this specific part of queens, so i'm not too sure what to call this area. i did pass signs for other stores that had maspeth on their awnings which were fairly close.

                      in addition, when you are coming from western queens, you drive through maspeth and middle village, so it's difficult to tell where the borders of forest hills are.

                      in regards to the employees - i noticed they were a little short-staffed. i noticed there were a few tables that weren't cleared during our duration there and they had 1 waitress for all the tables. she seemed new and didn't speak english too well...

                2. After reading all these rave reviews about the place, I've decided to take my family to dinner. We went there around 8pm and the place was empty. It was a warm night and the AC weren't turn on for some reason. The place is small and clean. When my sushi and sashimi combo arrived, I was so disappointed. The fish was so thinly sliced, you can see through them. They didn't even use premium rice for the sushi. The selection of fishes were disappointing as well. The sushi roll was the worst with imitation crab meat. I thought authentic Japanese owned restaurants do not use this imitation stuff. I was gravely disappointed. I am not a sushi expert but I have tried many sushi places in NYC and I have to say, this was the worst. I usually tried to avoid Chinese / Korean owned places because their cutting techniques are the worst so I decided to try this place since the chef is Japanese.... I think Sato is still the best for me in Queens. The selections and price compared to Ran, just blows them away by far!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: axodry

                    oh, that's really unfortunate. part of me wonders if the quality of this place will or has started to slip b/c there simply isn't enough clientele to support the place.

                    hopefully, there will be better chow experiences here than the one you had!

                    on the otherhand, i've never been to sato. i was under the impression it was chinese owned?

                    1. re: axodry

                      i too had very high hopes for this place and was unfortunately let down. i went here with my family recently and it took us almost an hour to get our food (because there was only one chef in the entire kitchen). they also only had 3 menus in the ENTIRE restaurant... no exaggeration. i couldn't understand why they had so few menus. they could have just run to kinkos and made a few printouts which would have served perfectly well. the sushi was fresh but, regrettably, poorly prepared. there was way too much rice on each roll. also, the fish was cut so small that there were some rolls where i could barely tell what kind of fish it was at all. it was maybe a 5 or 6 to 1 rice to fish ratio, which meant that the meal didn't end up being much of a value. i guess i'm going to have to continue to look outside of forest hills for great sushi. :(

                    2. A great Japanese restaurant. Excellent, fresh food. Nice menu. Pleasant atmosphere. Also there's a Carvel down the street for dessert.

                      1. We were looking forward to this place after the reviews here but found it middling at best. There was one other table when we went. Very standard Americanized sushi place menu. Maybe they need to keep things like chicken teriyaki on the menu for the non-adventurous eaters who might walk in but there was nothing interesting or really Japanese to choose from, other than sushi.

                        Fish was fresh, so this is probably as good a place as any for your Americanized sushi roll meal.

                        Uni was "steamed" without mention of that on the menu. OK, so I guess fresh uni won't turn over in Queens...and I guess a "real" Japanese restaurant can't be expected to arise in Queens, either. Will sadly slink back to Manhattan when we want Japanese food.

                        1. I just went tonight. I will definitely give them a second chance because I'm happy to see a Japanese-owned Japanese restaurant, but... certain elements were missing. The rice was not your typical glutinous Japanese short-grain rice but more like non-sticky Chinese long-grain. Yellowtail was overcooked and dried out. However, the service was terrific, red miso soup was good, salmon teriyaki was well-prepared and not overly sweet or oversauced. Roasted green tea was EXCELLENT, strong (that's the first thing I look for in a Japanese restaurant). We had maki instead of sushi or sashimi so we can't make a judgment about the sushi. But the tuna roll had a good amount of tuna. We will go back.

                          Also, for the person who was wondering about Sato, the owner is French/Vietnamese descent but he employs Chinese sushi chefs. I do like Sato very much. Shima in Astoria was my favorite Japanese in Queens but it's long gone by now, owner went back to Japan.

                          1. Mister Bill, we'll have to order a more extensive sushi selection next time. We would like to see the restaurant survive. Especially since there are so many inauthentic renditions of Japanese food.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: bonniebo

                              Bonniebo, I'm not sure how my last post got deleted but... I went to Ran again and I was very disappointed on my second visit. I may have to take back my previous recommendation of their sushi. The quality seems very inconsistent. For example, their eel-cuke roll was overly wet from the sauce and their shrimp did not seem too fresh. I am no longer hopeful but I may try them one more time...

                            2. I know Sunday sushi is a bad idea, but never in my life have I been so disgusted with the fish I've been served in a sushi place, and I've gone to some real dives! Perhaps my relationship with the folks at Mickey's spoiled me -- they have always given me the best cuts of fish -- but I don't expect rancid sushi just because it's Sunday. I have never had a worse meal in my life, and that's saying a lot. With Mickey's place gone, I'm going back to Sushi Yasu from here on out for sushi. The fish there is extraordinarily fresh and the clan there is a bunch of characters. I wish I had run from Ran.

                              1. Hooray! I'm so glad Ran is part of the neighborhood! I went there for my father's birthday and he got the tasting menu. It was an absurd amount of food, all of it delicious. The sushi is probably the best in the neighborhood, but the home-stye cooked food is where the party is at! The cooked fish (we had salmon, eel and cod) were the ultimate comfort food - warming on such a cold night, and everything was cooked with such great care.

                                I'm not surprised they close at 10 - it seems very much a family place, and there may have been only two people working there on the Friday night we visited. I'm so glad to have them in the neighborhood - it looks like Metropolitan might be shaping up to a culinary row.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: MyrtleWilloughby

                                  Well, now I don't know what to expect. Seems to either be amazingly good or horribly wrong.

                                  I'll give it a try if I'm in the nieghborhood.

                                2. This place came highly recommended by my friend who has many Japanese housewives recommend this place to her when it opened. I never had a chance to try it until this past Friday and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I had some doubts when we walked in and the place was empty-maybe due to the weather outside (lots of rain). We didn't interact much with sushi chef who I presume is the owner. We ordered the Tuna Avocado Salad that we had them change to Yellowtail Avocado Salad. It was 1/2 a avocado with 5 pieces of yellowtail-the dish was delicious and the fish was very fresh. We also ordered a sashimi deluxe-also very fresh and a Nabeyaki Udon for the baby. The baby slurped it all up!!! The best part is that the restaurant is BYOB.

                                  We would definitely go back again and we hope that everyone will go and give it a try to keep it alive. It's always nice to have different places to choose from to go to dinner on a Friday night.....

                                  On a side note, we have also been to Sato before and although the chefs are Chinese-we love the food here-more specifically, the sushi and sashimi items.

                                  1. Yo this Place is Awesome! TOP notch!!! trust me I've been to Japan and its got nothing on this place...MUST GO....

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: vinnyvette

                                      Some one posted on Queenscentral that it had closed......

                                    2. Does anyone have an update on Ran (which EricMM suggests has closed) or Sushi Yasu? I'm looking for some good sushi in the FH area. I recently had a terrible meal at a restaurant which claimed to be serving sushi on the north side of Queens Boulevard in the upper 70s. There are so many Japanese ex-pats in this neighborhood - where do they all eat? I suspect many take the E train to Manhattan's east 50s, but I'm hoping there's some hidden jewel in FH where the locals go to get their fixes.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Greg

                                        Sato on Queens Blvd near 65th, on the south side....Sushi Yasu on Yellowstone...limited but excellent, and Toyo on Metropolitan in Middle Village. Or take a cab to Mickey's in Bayside....wish they had never left FH.....