Ryujinmaru is a rare kind of izakaya specializing in fish cooked briefly over a straw fire. This is the 18th store for Ryujin Maru chain.
Tosa Province (土佐国 Tosa no kuni) is a former province of Japan in the area that is today Kōchi Prefecture on Shikoku. Tosa is very famous for its fresh bonito or skipjack tuna, so there are a lot of eateries that sell katsuo tataki and warayaki. Sukumo City is located in the historical area and is surrounded by a rich natural environment: ocean, mountains, and rivers. The climate is very warm, with the earliest cherry blossoms in Japan every spring, and it is a very comfortable place to live in. Since various kinds of fish inhabit Sukumo Bay, it is called “cradle of fish” or “natural fish farm.” Fish caught here are amazingly delicious
The restaurant offers many daily catch delivered straight from Sukumo Bay.
The brief but strong straw flame gives the fish a distinctive woody fragrance and the cooking itself is really interesting to look at while you’re enjoying your meal.
Like all izakayas, the meal started with an otoshi – four small dishes to be exact.
To make 鰹の酒盗 salted fish organs, internal organs can only be removed from the same fish and brined in salt to condense the umami. It is a delicacy that is indispensable part of Tosa’s food culture.
Yukhoe is a raw meat dish in Korean cuisine that resembles a steak tartare. It is most commonly made of beef but it can come in various kinds and cuts of meat. Yukhoe literally means ‘raw meat’. Therefore, in the strictest context, the term designates any dish of raw meat cut up for consumption without the marinade.
But the Japanese version of yukke took the Korean roots and added kimchi, Korean pepper sauce, mirin, soy sauce and a raw egg to marinate bonito. The result 鰹のユッケ bonito yukke was a delicious ceviche with the right texture and complex flavours.
The のどぐろの塩焼き grilled salted sea bream was not warayaki. Instead it was grilled over charcoal fire in a traditional round mould and finished off in an oven. The sea bream was of a perfect size, with the right amount of fish oil for grilling. It would do with a bit more salt though.
Anything can be raw-grilled, including vegetables. In most warayaki restaurants, vegetables are roasted in a cast iron pan. Here’s they use a wire mesh pan to hold the vegetable over the straw fire.
The result is a smoked わら焼きした8種野菜のバーニャカウダ grilled 8 assorted vegetables. Japanese vegetables are known for their sweetness. And with the baptism of fire, a dimension of smokiness and char-grilled flavour was added to the sweetness. Comes with a special dip, but you can just eat them with a sprinkle of sea salt.
Ryujin Maru is a chain store with many branches across Tokyo. While the food is fresh and the cooking capable, there’s no surprises or speciality that would warrant repeated visits. It is reasonably priced, so for a quick intro to warayaki, this would be a good choice.
Tosa wara-yaki Ryūjin maru 土佐わら焼き 龍神丸 赤坂
東京都港区赤坂3-12-18 第8荒井ビル（赤坂館） 1F
3-12-18 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 8th Arai Building (Akasaka Hall) 1F
Tel : 050-5269-8438
Date Visited : Sep 2019