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Tokyo

Sushi Ryujiro

鮨 龍次郎

The interior design of Sushi Ryujiro is opulent, yet the ambience Chef Ryujiro Nakmura creates here is casual and relaxing. The mood echoes that of Umi in Aoyama, where he previously served as Executive Chef. In November 2019, he opened his namesake restaurant just a short walk from Gaien-mae station. Sushi lovers took notice that Nakamura began serving tuna from Yamayuki, one of the top tuna dealers in Toyosu Market.

Umi’s regular customers had lovingly bestowed the chef with the nickname “Ryu-chan”, and accordingly Nakamura decided to use his first name for his new restaurant. The sign with the restaurant’s name was dearly hand-written by his mother.

The sushi counter was crafted from Kiso Hinoki, which Nakamura carefully chose from a lumber dealer in Nagoya. His close friend, Chef Yuichi Arai of Sushi Arai in Ginza taught him that high quality wood attracts good fortune. Nakamura still holds this belief. The counter is substantial at approximately 10-cm thick; this caliber of wood has become increasingly difficult to find.

In addition to the counter seating, a sous chef will prepare sushi in a private room that accommodates a maximum of six guests. This reservation is ideal for groups that prefer privacy or those with children.

Chef Nakamura has a passion for the ceramic ware that he uses to serve his dishes. For six weeks prior to opening, he visited the artisan kilns of Karatsu ware and Arita ware in Saga prefecture to purchase dishes. He also utilizes ceramic ware from Bizen, Echizen, and Shigaraki. Nakamura is even considering changing the fish display case from wood to a specialty ceramic display.

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CUISINE

Chu-toro as the first bite

There is only one omakase menu at Sushi Ryujiro. Nakamura says, “The ideal nature of sushi is that it collapses immediately when it reaches the palate.” The temperature of the rice paired with most fish is typically near body temperature. Chef makes acute adjustments to suit each particular fish. He serves the rice prepared for tuna sushi at a higher temperature and for silver fish at a lower temperature.

The flow of the courses varies depending on the day, but it usually begins with a soup to stimulate the appetite. Most sushi restaurants serve an otsumami (seasonal delicacy) first, but Nakamura opts to serve chu-toro nigiri (medium fatty tuna belly). The fish has been aged for about five days, so this first bite leaves a profound impression on the guest.

After the chu-toro, you will be presented with around six otsumami such as chawan-mushi and grilled fish before the sushi courses begin with squid. The approximate 13 courses of nigiri sushi that follow will include seasonal fish and a variety of tuna. Akami (lean tuna) is intentionally sliced thin so that it delicately drapes the sushi rice. O-toro (fatty tuna belly) is sliced thicker so that it envelopes the palate. Nakamura serves kohada after the tuna pieces and believes the vinegar provides refreshment.

INGREDIENTS
Nakamura relies upon almost all of the same distributors and wholesalers as he did while at Umi. This is to say that the majority of his fish is sourced from Toyosu Market in addition to direct purchases from Kyushu and Fukuoka. His tuna comes from Yamayuki, and the uni from Nozomi, a subsidiary of Yamayuki.

He purchases his rice from Marushichi Beikoku in Yamagata, which blends Koshihikari rice with Haenuki rice from the previous year’s harvest. He cooks the rice relatively firm so that it will keep its texture. The seasoned vinegar mixture is made with Yamabuki and Shiragiku from Mitsukan and Kohaku from Yokoi Jozo. He uses a higher ratio of salt compared to other sushi restaurants because he accounts for the flavor profile of the aged tuna.

Sushi Ryujiro cuisine #0
Sushi Ryujiro cuisine #1

CHEF

Ryujiro Nakamura

Nakamura was born in 1986 to parents who ran a Chinese restaurant in Tokyo. While growing up, his father often took him to sushi restaurants where he developed a deep appreciation for the craft. At a young age he decided to become a sushi chef, without ever considering any other path in life. He has three brothers, the oldest of which helms a Chinese restaurant in Osaka.

After graduating from high school, he apprenticed at Aoizushi in Kanazawa for five years. He then worked at several sushi restaurants in Ginza, including a two-year training at Sushi Hagihara. With the goal of working for a Michelin-starred sushi restaurant, he began scouring recruiting ads. At the age of 26, he was hired at Umi, with Mitsuyasu Nagano as Executive Chef.

After Mitsuyasu Nagano died, Nakamura became his successor at Umi’s sushi counter. Nakamura still feels the impact of Nagano’s adage, “Grasping the skills to make sushi is not enough. Aim for grasping customer’s hearts.” Nakamura believes his sushi is a culmination of skills acquired from three masters: Nobuharu Hase of Aoizushi, Takahito Hanawa of Sushi Hagihara, and Mitsuyasu Nagano of Umi.

While work is paramount, he has three daughters and values spending time with his family on his days off.

VISION
“I really like Disneyland,” says Nakamura. “It’s so much fun and brings such joy to visit. Once you leave, you immediately miss the experience of being there and strive to get back. I would like my customers to feel those same sentiments about my restaurant, and I strive to create a relaxing, enjoyable ambience.” Nakamura endeavors to grow his apprentices and currently has four cooks under his tutelage. Japan is currently experiencing a shortage of apprentices who want to become sushi chefs. To help solve this problem, Nakamura is developing a system by which a cohort of sushi restaurants pool apprentices and provide cross training.

TUNA

Nakamura has sourced his tuna for his restaurant from Yamayuki since the very beginning. He finds that Yamayuki’s tuna has a pleasant aroma, a balanced lean muscle to fat ratio, and a tender texture. The tuna is often softer than tuna from other sources, so he cuts it thicker than what is typical. He finds additional value in the ongoing tuna education that the President of Yamayuki provides. Prior to opening, the Chef conducted multiple tests to find the best sushi rice to complement Yamayuki’s tuna. The pictures shown are harakami, the upper belly of a tuna weighing approximately 190 kilograms that was caught with pole-and-line in Aomori. Previously he preferred longline caught tuna, but recently switched his preference to pole-and-line.

Course

Dinner
Sushi Ryujiro omakase course
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
¥35,000
¥35,000
Reservation Request

Tokyo

Sushi Ryujiro

鮨 龍次郎

PRICE
¥35,000
~
CHILD
0
& UP
MIN GUESTS
1
PERSON
~
GENRE
Sushi, Aoyama
ADDRESS
1st floor of Aristo Minami-aoyama Building,, 2-11-11, Minami-aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo
OPEN
Dinner 6PM- / 9PM-
CLOSED
Sunday and holidays
URL
NA
PHONE
+81-3-6384-5865

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