How to Eat Tuna Ribs
The Japanese tradition of frying bones may be hot, but it’s not the only presentation of bones worth celebrating. Take, for example, nakaochi — an off-the-menu rite of passage dish at Kanoyama, the popular East Village sushi spot.
Choke up on your spoon and scrape the tuna from between the ribs.
You need a little luck to score nakaochi — Kanoyama always seem to sell out. What is it? How do you eat it? Tuna ribs, from in-season blue fin tuna. For the uninitiated, a raw slab of ribs arrives on a plate. The neighboring table gasps, and says, “Wow, that must cost $135!” Don’t panic. It costs $35. Choke up on your spoon, scrape the tuna off between the ribs on one side, then dip it into bonito-flavored soy sauce. (Though there are some who prefer to furiously scrape at the meat with chopsticks.)
Grilled tuna ribs.
Now, the choice: to grill or not to grill? If you don’t grill, you just flip the ribs over, scrape, eat, and you’re done. You gotta grill. The server brings the rack to the kitchen where it’s grilled and partitioned then returned with ponzu.
“Grilled tuna bones truly taste like real meat such as beef or pork ribs, believe it or not!” Kanoyama’s website tries to persuade you. Well, not quite. The meat transforms into something akin to tuna jerky with crackly skin. Life-changing? No. But if you’ve already done the excellent omakase, or you just want to splash out, ordering nakaochi is a fun experience.