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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Casual restaurant

Mon–Thu 11:30am–3:00pm
Mon–Thu 5:30pm–10:00pm
Fri–Sat 11:30am–3:00pm
Fri–Sat 5:30pm–10:30pm
Sun 5:00pm–10:00pm

Bar Beer, wine
Credit cards Visa, MC
Reservations Accepted


Far North Austin
11101 Burnet Rd.
Austin, TX
(512) 973-9498
Ryu of Japan
Explore the delicious bounty of the sea, cooked, raw, fermented, and fried

Ryu of Japan doesn’t look like much in its tepid-beige, modern shopping center, with its fresh-from-the-1990s-catalog furniture and lighting. But once you’re greeted by the sweet, gracious staff—not to mention the more authentic and unusual of its fare—all that will melt away. Even the big-screen TV and wretched pop music. Expect a languid meal here; it’s perhaps not conducive to limited lunch breaks.

Ignore the table tents touting blah, safe rolls, and indulge in the sushi, which might be hauled out en masse on a kitschy boat, but is some of Austin’s best. The rice is shorter-grained and aggressively vinegared; wonderful with oily mackerel and the maritime crunch of giant clam and scallop. A traditional “Yukke Roll” with mackerel, shiso, and ginger is delicious. Uni, which never seems to be available, has come skunky.

Even better is the Japanese street food, like okonomiyaki, a pancake mixed with shredded pork and cabbage and a bit of spicy mayonnaise. Those who’ve acquired the taste for ammonia-strong, sticky natto will love it here, mixed with chunks of squid. Ankimo—cubes of monkfish liver with a very mild, almost cheesy flavor—will win anyone over with their seaweed and furikake complements. We could go on—kitten-sized oysters in ponzu; aji sashimi served on its edible, deep-fried skeleton—but we don’t want to ruin the surprises for you.

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