Let's just get this out of the way: Ra Sushi is not Japanese cuisine. Not proper Japanese cuisine anyway. That being said, it can be delicious as I found out at a new menu tasting at Ra Sushi in North Scottsdale last night.
A friend and were escorted to a large table in the back of Ra and were soon plied with Strawberry Gingeritas comprising 1800 Silver tequilla with strawberries and Elixir G ginger puree. I'm not totally sure what Elixir G is, but I do know what ginger is and this drink was full of it. Delicious and crisp, we ordered another couple after finishing the first.
We were in for four courses starting with a few appetizers and what Ra describes as "Ra Tapas." Kaisen Ceviche was certainly refreshing, but could have used a bit more sauce. Ra Chips & Salsa, a spicy tuna tartare served on a wonton chip, was delicious and, I thought, a creative way of incorporating a classic sushi ingredient. The tapas called "Sweet Onion Salmon" was sashimi done right with only a tiny bit of additional flavor provided by a sweet onion dressing.
By this point, I was pretty surprised by how much I enjoyed the new dishes, but that was quick to end when the sushi plate and main course. Ra tempted us with four pieces of sushi including the "Rallipop" made of tuna, salmon, yellowtail, spicy tuna, lettuce, asparagus and cucumber wrapped in an Asian radish and served skewered with a garlic-infused ponzu. The rest of the sushi was typical designer sushi based in the realm of spicy tuna. If you've been to Ra, you've had this before whether they top it with a fried renkon slice or not. Not bad, but not worth writing home about.
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I was most surprised by the Chicken Teriyaki which is simultaneous the most traditionally Japanese and disappointing. It was chicken Teriyaki. There was no citrus edge or spicy marinade or over-the-top presentation. Had they told me it came from a box in the freezer section, I would have believed them.
We ended the meal with Banana Split Maki or friend bananas layered with whipped cream, various pieces of citrus fruits and sprayed with chocolate and raspberry sauces. They're cute and delicious. What more can you ask from a dessert?
See a few more shots from the evening below: