Memphis. I love you, you know I do. I love your foibles and your charms and I take the bad with the good.

But, I’ve gotten a bit bored with your ability to deliver raw fish wrapped in seaweed to my table. There is a shortage of quality sushi in this town.

Partially because a lower income town several hundred miles from the coast can’t really support a top of the line sushi bar, and partially because everyone has just gotten used to the Jimmy Ishii-style of copy/paste sushi. And by that I mean Ishii dominates the Memphis sushi scene, but in doing so, pulls in every other sushi place into his wake. Ishii deserves his credit, though, he wanted to bring good sushi to a larger Memphis audience, and did so with great success.

But, my god, every place makes the same shit because of it. Even places like Blue Fin end up just cribbing stuff from his menu to make the fussy Memphis eaters happy. Do is probably the most free of his influence, but their menu is far too limited to really be considered a competitor in the sushi field.

In this environment, who would’ve thought that the the most original sushi place in Memphis would share a block with a porn store/strip joint, the best Chinese market in town, and a crumbling movie theatre, all in a mostly Hispanic neighborhood. Not me. But I love being proved wrong.

I am, of course, talking about Ryu Sushi at the corner of Summer and White Station.

As the waitress described it to us their sushi combinations were the result of “The chefs hanging out after hours, putting stuff together.” If they came across something they liked, it went up as a special. If people liked it, it went on the menu. Which leads to things like spicy fried tofu rolls, seared steak and avocado rolls, spicy bits of delicious on fried rice wafer things, and this absolutely mind blowing combination of sweet and spicy sauce, tuna, cilantro and avocado. And the best part? You’re not paying out the ass for original, quality sushi. Two people cleared out, very full, for around $60.

Ryu Sushi impressed the crap out of me. It made me honestly excited about Memphis sushi for the first time in years. I think you all should go find out why.

*click for big