Are you in the mood for RYU?

By DEBBIE KANDEL– @ New York Jewish    —-

Take a kosher culinary journey across Asia, from the comfort of Emek Refaim in Jerusalem.


ryu Photo: Courtesy
Despite the small entrance on Emek Refaim Street, RYU is a restaurant that holds 150 people, with the option to sit in booths, at the bar or in the large indoor and outdoor patio area surrounded by a garden. Chef Tomer Biran and his partners took ownership in early 2012 and brought their years of experience in California and China, providing quality mehadrin Asian food to Jerusalem’s trendy German Colony.

The menu is slightly overwhelming, with a variety of Asian cooking styles and flavors from which to choose. Starters alone offer a choice of soups, appetizers, salads, dim sum and a full sushi menu. We opted for a selection of sushi dishes, personally recommended by Biran. There is no question that RYU uses the best quality ingredients, which is especially important with raw fish. My favorite sushi dish was the trio of sashimi (NIS 62) – thin slices of salmon, sea bream, tuna and avocado marinated in a spicy wasabi salsa. My dining companion and I also really enjoyed the SOS (NIS 62) – a salmon and cucumber roll wrapped with smoked salmon and avocado, served with an Asian pesto sauce; and the black and white seared tuna sashimi (NIS 64).

DSC_6002-pWe went on to taste the Bombay samosas spring roll (NIS 33) and the shiitake mushroom spring roll (NIS 33), which were both nice but not outstanding, as the pastry was not crispy enough. We also tried the beef and Asian plum dumplings (NIS 42) and the Shanghai chicken dumplings (NIS 42). Both had a very heavy dough and lacked any distinct flavor. Not the best dim sum we have tried – we recommend you stick with sushi as a starter.

For the main course, we salivated over one of the house specialties – a 400-gram nori- crusted rib-eye steak (NIS 196) that is served with mashed potatoes, wild mushrooms and a vinegar reduction. This is an incredible piece of meat, served perfectly rare. The combination of the nori and sesame crust with the sauce gives a wonderful Asian twist to a traditional steak dish. Although it is expensive, it is definitely worth trying and can easily be shared by two diners. We also sampled the canard a l’orange (NIS 136), a French-style duck with an orange sauce. The dish came beautifully presented with a sweet potato purée and green beans and was very tasty – although I did not understand its place on a pan-Asian menu.

The desserts have a very strong coconut influence, bad news for my dining companion who doesn’t like coconut. The malabi tapioca (NIS 39) was creamy and not too sweet, and the coconut sushi roll (NIS 39), served with chocolate sauce and strawberry coconut jam, was a cute idea but very similar to that of other local sushi restaurants. The banana tempura (NIS 39) came with great parve vanilla ice cream but a slightly sickly caramel coconut sauce, and the tempura should have been be crispier.

The restaurant’s elegant setting caters well to large groups, as well as small intimate dinners. While there are definitely some strong dishes on the menu, RYU would be wise to focus on what they are really good at rather than trying a bit of everything.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.

25 Emek Refaim, Jerusalem
(02) 561-1344
Sun – Thurs noon to midnight Saturday – 1 hour after Shabbat ends until 1 a.m

mh- New York Jewish


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