Are you in the mood for RYU? .
(photo credit: 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
We 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
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.
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
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
25 Emek Refaim, Jerusalem
Sun – Thurs noon to midnight Saturday –
1 hour after Shabbat ends until 1 a.m