Trading Cash for Experience: Mt. Fuji Restaurant

DenaJuly 9, 2010

Preface: I’m not a fan of money, spending money, or obtaining material possessions. In my life, I practice minimalism whenever possible.

My opinions about money & possessions are largely shaped by my financial history (which you can read more about in previous posts). Despite the facts that I am frugal & that money is not my favourite thing, there is one thing that I am willing to spend my money on and that is: experience.

I absolutely love to experience new places & things—exotic locations, adventures, art, culture, delicious foods: YES PLEASE! The reality about these things is that (in most cases) they cost money. But I’m okay with that. I’m happy to trade my hard-earned dollars for beautiful experiences.

This series—Trading Cash for Experience—features a few of the occasions where I decide to trade my $ for experience. Enjoy!

June 20th was my boyfriend’s twenty-seventh birthday. I knew that I wanted to do something special, but the two of us are very similar in our distaste for material possessions. He already has everything that he needs. I knew that I would have to think outside of the box. So… I decided to go for an experience over a material gift.

Hibachi! I’ve been wanting to take Matthew to hibachi forever because he has never been. It just so happens that one of the greatest hibachi restaurants on the East Coast is only 20 minutes away from our house—Mt. Fuji!

Mt. Fuji Japanese Steakhouse is located on the side of a mountain in Hillburn, NY. The views from the restaurant’s sprawling window walls are phenomenal. The food is world-class and the hibachi chefs are amazing! I can not say enough good things about this place. (And no, this is not a paid endorsement of any sort, it’s plain & simply my opinion!)

Join me on a short photographic tour of our Mt. Fuji Birthday Celebration.

We started the night with delicious, chilled Ginjō Sake (Japanese rice wine). Typically, we opt for warm sake when we’re out for Japanese, but I wanted to try something different. The rice wine was somewhat bitter, but an excellent compliment to our dinner. Although it is served chilled, it goes down the throat with a warm swish.

When you go for hibachi at Mt. Fuji, the tables are set for eight. If you do not have a party of eight, you are seated with other guests. You can see a few of our table mates in the photographs. Our hibachi chef was called Johnny 5. He was a riot!

Our first course was hot onion & seaweed soup. This steaming soup is spectacular, a full-on party for the taste buds.

Our next course was sushi. I went with the Alaskan Roll—Salmon & Avocado Rolled with Seasoned Rice & Topped with Tobiko (Flying Fish Roe). Matthew opted for the Spicy Crunch Roll—Salmon with Tempura Crunch, Spicy Sauce & Tobiko. (We stay away from tuna since watching The Cove.) Of course we shared the rolls & both were excellent.

After sushi, the real fun began! Our chef, Johnny 5, started whipping up the side dishes, which all of the table mates get to share—veggie fried rice, lo mein, & grilled shrimp. While preparing the food, he did all sorts of amazing tricks like flipping shrimp tails into his hat, tossing an egg around on a fry flipper, and creating a flame-erupting miniature Mt. Fuji out of an onion!

After each of us was served our side dishes, Johnny 5 got to work on the main courses. Matthew had the Hibachi Filet Mignon with Scallops and I had the Hibachi Shrimp. (I can never get enough shrimp!)

By the time the main course got to my plate I was already full! But after sampling a few scrumptious bites, I couldn’t stop indulging. Everything on my plate was beyond delicious. Of course, I sampled Matthew’s plate too & found even more delight there!

When dinner was finally over we had to turn down the offer for dessert. I really thought I was going to have to be rolled out of the restaurant because I was that full! Our check came to $114.92 (including tip) which is our grocery budget for one and a half weeks(!)… but I was more than happy to pay it for the incredible experience & the delicious food. It was worth every penny.

We explored the outside of the restaurant—Japanese inspired statues, gardens, & koi ponds—for a few minutes. I snapped a few more photographs before we headed home & melted into food comas for the evening. (Note: I do not overindulge like this often, nor do I recommend the habit. However, birthdays only come around once a year & life is short!) 😉

I highly recommend Mt. Fuji if you are ever in the area. Check out their website & full menu at:

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