Tuesday, November 3, 2009

In The News: Ra Sushi

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

*Do it in the raw - Ra Sushi stimulates the senses*

By Katie Kelly Bell

Sexy and sleek, accented with loud, pulsating music, Ra Sushi sounds like a club but acts like a restaurant. That’s the point: Come for the scene, stay for the food or come for the food, stay for the scene. The folks at Ra are not apologizing for that. Having a good time, meeting with friends and enjoying some sushi are what Ra is all about.The concept started in 1997 as the brainchild of three Arizona-based friends who wanted to offer sushi lovers a completely different dining experience. Rich Howland, Scott Kilpatrick and Tai Obata wanted to emphasize youth, energy and value (happy hour prices are some of the best in town; more on that later). In 2002, after great success, the current owners created a partnership with Benihana and the concept expanded to 24 locations nationwide. Located just a click off of Peachtree in Midtown’s shiny new 1010 development, Ra is definitely a busy place. During our Tuesday evening visit, the tables were full and the guests kept piling in. Our server told us it’s like this most every night. The main dining room is a lofty, massive space decked out in black and red lacquer with loads of dark woods to trim things out and plump rice bags suspended from the ceiling for dramatic effect. The best seat in the house has to be the al fresco tables just inside the dining room; you get fresh air, great people-watching and the added benefit of still being inside. A mighty bar opens directly onto the street, serving as an indoor/outdoor bar. The patio is expansive and a great place to dine if you prefer a quieter setting. This is no doubt a great late-night scene when the weather is seasonable. For sushi purists, the standard nigiri and sashimi work well enough, but to really let Ra flex its culinary muscles, be sure to order from their signature sushi and sashimi menu. It’s a serious playlist of specialty rolls that merit attention. Even with ingredients such as eel sauce, Kochjan chili ponzu and lotus root, the options are quite user-friendly. One of the most popular (and truly lovely to look at) sashimi plates is the chili ponzu yellowtail. Presented carpaccio style, the fish is peppered with jalapeno, sautéed nuts, cilantro and chili ponzu sauce, along with a heap of daikon radish. It may sound like a lot of fuss, but the dish is really quite refreshing and simple. The Viva Las Vegas roll (another fave) features a tempura-battered roll of kani kama and cream cheese topped with spicy tuna, crab and shaved lotus root. Again with the fuss, but this is a delicious roll, not to mention an enormous one. If uncooked fish just isn't your thing, the dinner menu also offers a range of salads, noodle dishes, beef and chicken teriyaki, and seared ahi tuna. While you’re eagerly sampling everything, be sure to wash some of it down with sake. Ra offers more than a dozen selections worth noting. The sparkling sake, Kizakura “Pure,” is a good place to start. Pair it with the pork gyoza appetizer for a pleasing starter. Appetizers are fairly mainstream. You can’t go wrong with the tempura selections: coconut shrimp, vegetable and calamari. There's also great temptation in the dazzling line-up of signature cocktails. It’s an easy place to order a roll or two of sushi and wash everything down with a fruity, fun Ra Pleasure (vodka, melon, black raspberry, sake and fruit juices on ice). Beer, wine, shooters and dessert drinks round out the offerings. A late-night menu and great happy hour specials (half-off sushi and appetizers, along with drinks under $5) keep the scene buzzing all evening long. Dinner draws from a diverse crowd, but the vibe is distinctly young, hip and urban, and the message is clear: Come for the scene, stay for the food. SP


Read The Article : Ra Sushi Executive Chef Spices Up The Menu - http://connectextra.com/?p=502


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