Creamy eel and world-class sushi rolls on Duxton Hill
The newest addition to the buzzing Duxton Hill enclave, independent Japanese concept Rizu may come with no famous background or celebrity chef endorsement, but holds surprisingly well on its own with impossibly fresh ingredients, bold flavors and world-class sushi.
The hype: The newest addition to the buzzing Duxton Hill enclave, independent Japanese concept Rizu may come with no famous background or celebrity chef endorsement, but holds surprisingly well on its own with impossibly fresh ingredients, bold flavors and world-class sushi.
The vibe: A cozy 39-seater with your choice of breezy alfresco or a more intimate interior, the restaurant at first blends into the background unnoticed, alongside its other more racuous neighbors. Upbeat jazz music brings the otherwise serene and dimly lit place to life.
The food: Expect attention to flavor down to the bite-sized appetizers, particularly the Squid Carbonara with Salmon Roe ($12) bursting with umami; or the pickled veg in the Beef Tataki and Urchin Carpaccio ($26). Rizu imports their fish from Japan and other parts of the world; and it shows.
It’s easy to overlook something as commonplace in Japanese cuisine as sushi, but the nigiri sushi and signature rolls at Rizu are in a league of their own. The nigiri sushi is tender and juicy—if you can only pick a few from the selection, definitely get the Fatty Tuna ($12 a piece) and Horse Mackerel ($4 a piece). The chef is also impressively versatile with the flavor in his rolls—we had a local-tasting Crunchy Spicy Tuna Roll ($24 for 8 pcs), a sweet and fragrant Mango Lobster Roll ($26), and a devastatingly indulgent Eel and Foie Gras Roll ($32). The latter is easily the best thing on the menu.
For unconventional sashimi that’s just as fresh, Rizu’s Ikedukuri (live fish sashimi) is a must; pick the Boston Lobster ($45 whole), geoduck ($45-$160) and abalone ($15)—in that order. And if you thought Rizu’s smaller selection of mains would pale in comparison to their seafood dishes, think again. The miso marinated Grilled Black Cod ($25) falls apart in your mouth, drenched in creamy roasted miso marinade. But if you want to leave the restaurant in a decadence-induced daze, get the Rice Bowl that comes with sea eel, urchin, salmon roe foie gras, and caviar ($50)—the eel is so creamy it almost has a paste-like texture that will have you dreaming of sushi for days.
The drinks: Rizu was made for sake connoisseurs; pick your very own stained-glass sake cup to have tipples of the wide selection available. The Kamonishiki Junmai Daiginjo from the Niigata province is fruity but leaves a delightful warmth at the back of your throat; an experience for both amateurs and sake lovers. Otherwise, take a swig from the selection of draft beers and ciders ($12-$14) or wines.
Why you’ll be back: Rizu doesn’t treat its sushi as just sushi; here it’s a craft that’s been exquisitely perfected, and not just because it favors premium produce. For a truly authentic Japanese meal you won't be forgetting in a long time, look no further.