In the shadows at Ryoko
The guy doing the sushi at Ryoko (619 Taylor @Post), the other night was a twentysomething guitarist named Atsushi. Asked why they kept Ryoko so dark, he said, "Americans like it dark." I said that wasn't necessarily true, but then a couple came in and said, "Can you put us somewhere dark?"
Atsushi was really helpful in saying what was fresh, and he's got a good nigiri technique. I ordered unagi and he put tobiko eggs on top of it, which is not the kind of thing I get into, but otherwise his sushi was ok. He also made "Mizuna ohitashi" -- mizuna stalks with a dashi/soy dressing and bonito flakes. Komochi Shishamo (smelts with roe-filled stomachs) were grilled nicely. Agedashi dofu was a little too soggy, and the dashi for it tasted vinegary. The sushi was a little on the expensive side, given that overall it was just ok -- some types were around $7 for two pieces.
The owner told me that they recently opened for lunch, and are serving Tonkotsu Ramen. He said the broth he makes is not the traditional whitish tonkotsu broth, but that I would not regret trying it. I plan to take him up on that.
Nope, this is tonkotsu. The "ton" is the same as the one in tonkatsu -- meaning pork (also used in "tonsoku" -- pig's feet). The "kotsu" is the character for bones (also pronounced "hone"). Usually it has a nice slab of yakibuta (Chinese-style bbq pork)or bara-niku (slab of belly meat) on top. Tonkotsu Ramen is associated with Hakata (Fukuoka). I lived there for a year once, and ate many bowls. I was just in NY for a couple of days and enjoyed the Tonkotsu Ramen at Yakitori Taisho. Looking forward to Ryoko's version.
Ha! the guy had to be joking. Everytime I've walked in there I get the "uh oh, gaijin alert" treatment. They're certainly not catering to "Americans".