Ryu Sushi Bar

Another First

After years of blogging, I find it hard to believe that this is my first sushi review. I guess my passion for burgers, barbecue and Soul Food was more important than broadening my food experiences. Fortunately, working on Summer Avenue has exposed me to a variety of cuisines ranging from barbecue to barbacoa, so I have an opportunity to try a lot of foods that I would normally ignore. With regards to sushi, it was inevitable that I would venture out to one of the many Japanese restaurants on Summer for my first review about it.

From the top: Fire, Memphis, Rock 'n Roll

For my sushi selection, I relied on the smartphone app Swarm (Foursquare's successor) for advice. The overwhelming favotites were the "Fire" and "Rock 'n Roll" (previous named "Kalisu") rolls, so I got them along with Ryu's "Memphis" roll. All three choices were quite good, with the Fire roll being the best among them. Despite its name, the Fire roll was mildly spicy, for the chili sauce gave it enough heat to make it tasty without suppressing everything else in it. Speaking of that, the shrimp and cucumber added a crunchy dimension to the Fire roll that made it a delight to eat. There was also crunchy shrimp in the Rock 'n Roll, topped with a creamy crab topping and a lot of soy sauce that combined for a very good sushi roll that I hope to have again. The Memphis roll, with its raw salmon and cream cheese, was decent although it didn't scream "Bluff City" when I ate it. If it were left to me, I would have gone with smoked salmon to honor Memphis' barbecue heritage. Nonetheless, I liked it and along with the other sushi rolls and fried rice (good enough to hold its own with Asian Palace), which made for a very nice dinner.

SIDE NOTE: Along with my sushi, I drank two bottles of Kirin Ichiban, the malty Japanese pale lager at $3.50 apiece. How is it that a Japanese restaurant can sell imported beer at that price, while my favorite draught emporium can't offer a low-cost beer that most of its surrounding competitors serve? Yes, I'm talking about the Flying Saucer not selling Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) while other Downtown Memphis restaurants (ranging from Hooters to the Majestic Grille) manage to offer it at a lower cost than the Saucer's daily beer special (known as the "Fire Sale"). Unlike the Saucer, Ryu is trying to stay competitive with nearby restaurants with beer prices that are very agreeable. If it's possible, I suggest that the Flying Saucer borrow a case of PBRs from its sister restaurant Flying Fish and gauge the reaction from its customers. I believe the response will be favorable and entice former "regulars" who hang out at places like the Silly Goose to put the Saucer back on their beer drinking maps.

Overall, I liked everything I had at Ryu Sushi Bar and will likely become a frequent patron. With it being across the street from my new cellphone service provider T-Mobile, I see myself dining there often after paying my monthly bill. My phone plan includes the provider's Mobile HotSpot service that will give me Internet access at home. By the way, switching to T-Mobile was necessary due to my current residence at my Dad's house in North Memphis, which a Downtown Memphis blogger calls "Norf Norf Memphris" that seems racially charged in a David Duke sort of way. I guess haters are gonna hate. Fortunately, the staff at Ryu are very friendly and will appreciate your business, so give it try whenever you're in the Berclair neighborhood. You won't regret it.

Website: www.RyuSushiBar.com

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