The first word that comes to mind when thinking back about Ryuu Japanese Steakhouse is elegance, or maybe, swankiness.  Located at the Westfield Brandon Mall in Brandon, this modern Japanese hibachi and sushi restaurant would feel equally right at home in a district like South Tampa or Downtown.

But, it's not. Adorned with a massive, ice-y chandelier, slick waterfalls along the walls, and a futuristic free-standing wine cellar, this elegant local business is battling out with chains like The Cheesecake Factory and California Pizza Kitchen for success as a restaurant in the mall.

Does it hold up?  Or, better yet, does Ryuu even deserve to hold up against its well-established competition.  Judging by an all-around excellent afternoon lunch, definitely.

Which doesn't mean it's out of this world amazing, but most certainly a great place to go if you're craving casual Japanese cuisine done right.

Their sushi selection is equally comparable to any standard sushi bar in the area with rolls like the Volcano, California, and more.  In the hometown spirit, the Tampa roll at Ryuu comes stuffed with tempura grouper, a spicy sauce, and cucumber.  Although not bursting with flavor, the Tampa roll was huge and satisfactory enough to fill you up right before the main course.

For lunch, Ryuu Japanese Steakhouse offers hibachi selections like steak, chicken, and shrimp sans-awesome hibachi show (that's reserved for the evening).  Even so, the chicken, at a mere $8.99 was absolutely delectable.  Grilled to perfection, still moist and tender, the chicken was a knockout and all the more enhanced by the sauteed vegetables and fried rice that came with it.  Oh yeah, the $8.99 includes a salad and miso soup as well.

Judging by this experience, Ryuu Japanese Steakhouse knows how to do Japanese right and is definitely a welcome addition to the pantheon of chain restaurants at the mall.

Ryuu Japanese Steakhouse also offers a ton of great discounts and specials throughout the week including a $29 dinner for two and more.  Check out the Ryuu Japanese Steakhouse 813area business listing for al the great deals.