I’ve never been a big fan of unagi (eel) despite it’s popularity among Japanese and foreigners alike. It’s not that I don’t like it, it’s just something I’ve never gone out of my way to eat. Still, my wife always credited my lack of unagi enthusiasm to the fact that I’ve never had really good eel. With that in mind, I searched for some Michelin-starred eel and was happy to find Ryo, a restaurant new to the 2017 guide that serves only one course paired with sake. It seemed like a good place to start my unagi journey, because even if the food was no good, I could at least get a good buzz.
Luckily, the food was awesome. Let me ride the bandwagon- I am a fan, and would be happy to eat the slithery little water snake any time!
Ryo is in a quiet location, a good 10 minute walk from either Naka-Meguro or Ikejiri-Ohashi stations, and it’s 2nd floor location above a car repair shop makes it very easy to miss. Once you find it, it’s a cozy, 8-seat restaurant with just one table that wraps around an open kitchen. The owner, a 38 year-old well-versed in music, mans the ship doing all the eel preparation, while his father works as a sous chef, and his wife manages the beverages. It’s a fairly hip place with vinyl album covers like Neil Young and Coltrane adorning the walls, while similar music plays in the background.
The course is a great value, as well. Two people can enjoy expertly prepared eel served in the kaiseki style and enough rare and unique sake to feel Ryo’s good vibes for well under 30,000 yen.
Let’s eat Ryo!