Try Akai Ryu in Porter Square

A tasty plate at Akai Ryu. Photo courtesy of

A tasty plate at Akai Ryu. Photo courtesy of

The days of Asian cuisine being characterized by greasy and heavy Chinese food are so, completely over. Since June 2014, elegance and health-consciousness meet absolute deliciousness for the best possible experience in Japanese dining at Akai Ryu.

Akai Ryu Atmosphere

Inside Akai Ryu. Photo courtesy of

Inside Akai Ryu. Photo courtesy of

The name “Akai Ryu” means Red Dragon. The interior of Akai Ryu is almost entirely black and red, with ambient lighting for a surprisingly cozy feel in the otherwise sleek décor.

Its modern facilities include a conveyor belt for food as well as electric burners built into each table for soup.

The Dining Experience

If you’ve never been out to Japanese food before, the waitstaff at Akai Ryu are friendly, knowledgeable, and more than happy to assist your understanding of the somewhat intimidating process of ordering. The best way to go about your meal is to order a variety of dishes and share them around the table.

When you’re starting out with some sushi, there is some important vocabulary to be learned beforehand.

Simply put, Maki is just rolled sushi. Some delicious varieties at Akai Ryu include the Porter Square Maki, which includes sake, mango, cucumber, avocado, lettuce, and strawberry sauce; and the Shrimp Tempura Maki, which includes shrimp, tobiko, and spicy mayonnaise.

Nigiri is another common type of sushi. It is comprised of sliced raw fish over a molded ball of rice. A classic type of nigiri is sake nagiri, which is topped with smoked salmon—and Akai Ryu’s is to die for.

Shabu-Shabu. Photo courtesy of Akai Ryu

Shabu-Shabu. Photo courtesy of

After you’ve warmed up with some sushi or perhaps some crispy vegetable tempura, you can get to the exciting part. Shabu-shabu, or Japanese hot-pot, is one of the things that makes Akai Ryu so special.

First, you select your broth from Akai Ryu’s wide variety of flavors. Some unique options include Thai Tom Yum, which is a sour and spicy lemongrass Thai soup, and Tomato & Kimchi, which includes tomatoes and Korean pickled cabbage in a chicken base.

Next, you select your combination of meat and vegetables. The meat comes in thin strips that you can cook safely and easily in the shabu-shabu right on your table. A few options are lamb, angus sirloin, and mixed seafood.

You can continue to cook your meat, vegetables, and noodles, or rice in the shabu-shabu, or you can grab different exotic vegetables off the conveyor belt to throw in the pot. Not only is it fun to do a little bit of cooking for yourself, but this way you can be sure that everything you’re eating is fresh as can be.

Akai Ryu Location and Hours

Akai Ryu is located in the Porter Square Galleria, right across from the Porter Square Red Line T stop. The address is 822 Somerville Ave, 2nd Floor, Cambridge MA 02140.

Hours are 11:30am – 10:00pm Monday through Thursday,
 11:30am – 11:00pm Friday and Saturday, and Sunday from 12:00pm – 10:00pm.

[pw_map address=”822 Somerville Ave, Cambridge, MA, 02140″]

-Elise Grenier, Content Editor