SAITO NYC Is The Sushi Shop That Serves Raw Tuna Right Off The Rib

If you're a meat eater, then chances are, you are familiar with ribs. Common forms include pork and beef baby back ribs, short ribs, and spare ribs, which are typically grilled, smoked, and fried. But ribs need not be limited to land-based animals, as fish rib dishes, such as pacu ribs and Buffalo fish ribs, also exist. Then there are fish ribs that aren't even cooked before they are served and eaten.

Known as maguro nakaochi in Japanese, tuna ribs are often used by restaurants to make sushi rolls, tuna bowls, and other dishes that make use of minced tuna. At certain restaurants, tuna ribs are served raw to diners, who then scrape off the tender raw tuna meat in between the rib bones for an interactive meal experience. One such restaurant is SAITO, a modern izakaya restaurant in New York City's Nolita neighborhood, which serves tuna ribs during special, often-sold-out nakaochi tuna rib events.

How to enjoy the tuna rib experience

At SAITO, the entire slab of tuna ribs is displayed on a counter. Diners who are taking part in the event are given clam shells to use to scrape the raw tuna meat off the ribs on their own. The tuna can then be enjoyed as is, or used to make a hand roll with rice and nori seaweed. SAITO's nakaochi tuna rib event also includes several different appetizers (such as salmon skin salad, crispy rice tuna, and wagyu stew) and a glass of sake. Check with the restaurant on availability and make sure you make a reservation in advance if you want to partake in this unique dining experience.

If you can't get tickets to one of Saito's nakaochi tuna rib events, there are other restaurants in New York City where you can also order tuna ribs, though again, typically not all the time. These options include Mifune Restaurant, which serves diners an entire tuna rib slab with seashells for scraping, and Kanoyama in the East Village, which gives diners spoons to use on the off-menu special dish.