Ryu Sushi Bar
5137 Summer Avenue
July 4th weekend, Warren, the monkeys (Satchel, 6, and Jiro, 4) and I did a lot of catching up on yardwork, home improvement projects, car repairs, Wii playing, and Pixar movie going. It was for this reason that we found ourselves without dinner at 8:30pm on a Saturday night.
We cleaned up, loaded into the car, and set down Summer Avenue for Edo. We immediately noticed that the lights were off when we pulled up.
“Wha? Huh? Closed on a Saturday?” we muttered.
Taped to the door was a sheet of notebook paper that said the restaurant was closed for the long holiday weekend.
“What now?” Warren and I asked each other.
To the right of Edo is the Jerusalem Market. “I definitely don’t want to go there again,” I said. (More on that later.) Besides, my stomach was set for Japanese food.
After searching through the Japanese restaurant listings in my head, I stopped at the Rs. “Hey, what about Ryu? You know, the place next to the Asian Market near White Station that used to serve Dim Sum?” (Warren sometimes needs a lot of information to know what I'm talking about.)
“Oh, yeah, okay…” Warren said as he navigated us further down Summer towards the restaurant.
I had gotten a few rolls for take out one night when Warren and the boys were shopping at the Asian market next door, and really liked it. We’d had their sushi one other time at a friend’s art opening, and it was on our list of places to go. I was quite happy with the turn of events.
The inside of Ryu is rather small and cozy, especially if you remember how large the Chinese restaurant used to be. The interior is the typical Japanese Steak House style with a few Home Depot twists like marble table tops. Each wall has a really large replica of a famous Japanese painting. (Well at least one of them was a replica.) I couldn’t help wishing I could take one of them home to hang in our dining room. They also have a really cute logo...I'm thinking they have a talented artist/waiter/chef on staff.
By the time we were seated it was nearly 9:00pm and it seemed like things were (understandably) winding down at Ryu. The waiter was sitting at a table with some friends of his and the other guy working seemed to have his hands full with the couple seated behind us. “How much food did they order?” I marveled each time the waiter brought something to their table. “There’s no way they can eat all of that!”
We were all starving—Warren had been subsisting on the candy he ate at the 1:30pm showing of WALL-E at Studio on the Square. Satchel probably would have eaten his napkin if we’d let him.
I ordered edamame and miso soup right away to keep everyone calm while I read through the sushi menu. The edamame came out mushy and cold, which was off-putting, but not off-putting enough for us to send it back or hesitate before eating it. (I’m going to chalk the pathetic state of the edamame up to the late hour and give them the benefit of the doubt.) I’m not sure the monkeys even noticed the inferior quality of their appetizer. How could they when they were eating it at the speed of light?
The miso soup came out next—-nice and hot-—with crunchy French onions on it.
“That’s different,” I said. Warren shot me a look, but clearly there was nothing I could do or say to make any food item get rejected by the voracious monkeys.
“They’re yummy!” reported Satchel. Then between slurps he asked, “Do Samurais only use chopsticks?”
I don’t remember how Warren answered this one, but I do remember him commenting that Ryu had the “nice” chopsticks and that we should take a few home.
Before Satchel could finish his soup, the waiter brought out his kid’s meal. (Normally I would balk at the food coming out one by one, but in this case it was ideal.) Warren had ordered him the hibachi steak with shrimp tempura and fried rice. It was HUGE and Satchel was extremely happy about this. He loves hibachi and minus the big hibachi tables (everything is cooked in the back) I don’t think he knew he was getting such a treat.
Next came my tuna roll. Jiro, who was sitting next to me, attacked it. (I had ordered him an avocado roll, but it hadn’t arrived yet.) I watched as he meticulously poked out the tuna and gobbled up the rice and seaweed. I simply ate my three rolls and then ate the leftover tuna off of his plate.
(Just so you know, the people behind us were still having food brought out to them.)
The rest of our food arrived shortly after. Warren had a bento box with chicken, white rice, tempura vegetables, and a California roll. Jiro got his avocado roll and I had three more sushi rolls—-Cano (a California roll with spicy crawfish on top), a spicy crawfish roll, and a Kanisha (cucumber roll very similar to the house cucumber at Sekisui).
I soon realized that there was no way that I was going to be able to eat all of the food that I ordered, but I tried anyway. Warren didn’t seem too excited with his dinner so I enlisted his help with the sushi. Meanwhile, Jiro was poking the avocado out of the sushi and piling it up on his plate. (Note to sushi chefs: please add rice balls or simply rice rolls to your menu!)
Satchel, who had now eaten all of his steak and most of his fried rice, asked if he could have the avocado…and some of Warren’s white rice.
Looking at my sushi selection, I said, “I should have gotten more tuna.”
Satchel countered with, “I should have gotten more steak!”
I tried to get Jiro to eat some of Satchel’s tempura shrimp or fried rice but he refused. “Think he’ll eat some chicken?” I asked Warren.
Before he could answer, Satchel, who was clearly having a growth spurt, said, “I want some chicken!”
(The couple behind us had left by now...leaving behind a TON of food. WTF? I considered letting Satchel graze their leftovers since he was seemingly insatiable, but thought better of it.)
Eventually Jiro agreed to let me feed him the rest of Satchel’s fried rice as long as it had a bite of egg in it and he could be excused when it was gone and allowed to put a quarter in the candy machine by the door.
By the time I was done feeding Jiro and Warren was done polishing off the rest of my sushi, the monkeys were looking pretty sleepy.
“I’m tired of holding my head up,” said Satchel.
“We should have brought your toothbrushes,” I commented as the waiter brought our check—-no to-go boxes necessary. The total was $58 which seemed like a little more than we would usually spend at Sekisui or Edo, but I attributed it to my over-ordering.
Then I must have missed something because Satchel suddenly sat upright and asked, “How does Saroman lose the ring?”
As we made our way out a whole group of college kids came in who seemed like they knew the waiter and sat down. And there were still a few other tables full of people. (The sign on the door said they were open til 11 I think.)
And a bonus tale from the ride home…
When we were all buckled in the car and driving off I noticed a huge cockroach on the windshield.
“Gross! Turn on the wipers!” I screamed.
“NO!” screamed the monkeys from the back. “That’s WALL-E’s pet!”
“Yeah,” Warren agreed. “Besides he’ll fly off when we get on Sam Cooper.”
When we got home and the cockroach was still on the car, the monkeys actually asked if we could keep him.