Clearly, one of the hardest and most unpleasant parts of this job is being invited to taste everybody’s new dishes. Well, it’s only really hard or unpleasant – as at Ra Sushi, as at City Centre – when you really love their old dishes. We were, however, wildly impressed with most of what we sampled yesterday, including no fewer than four new rolls: the tropical, the vegetable tempura and the Pacific. The new fave, though, was the so-punctuated “Ra”ckin Roll, with kani kama crab and cream cheese, plus shrimp in a creamy ginger teriyaki sauce.
In a world of braised beef short ribs and cheese grits, we seldom suffer from anything resembling Salad Lust. So it was a pleasure to meet a salad we’d actually bother lusting after. This is called the Otoko Salad and can be ordered with chicken or beef. No question which we prefer on that score. Believe it or not, the dressing is not only tasty but interesting, with spicy yuzu over red and green peppers, caramelized onions and asparagus, plus rice wine vinaigrette over the crisp greens. And yes, those are fried ramen noodles. To paraphrase Robert Duvall, I love the smell of ramen in the morning. It smells like… college!
And with all this heady food talk, much of it shared with Ra manager Gavin Bouey (who just transferred here from the sushi concept’s Las Vegas operation), it’s easy to forget the new cocktails. I think we tried them all, darn it. These include several described as “skinny,” a.k.a. less fattening, plus this beauty combining rum and strawberry. Others among the new cocktails, like the citrusy spin on a margarita, are less sweet. This one is perfect for those who remember the sweet Asian drinks of yore, the kind you might share from a flaming bowl. For color and great taste, we’ll call it the Cocktail for Those Suffering from Mad Men Syndrome.