RA Sushi rolls out new menu - The Explorer: Livenup

RA Sushi rolls out new menu

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Posted: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 4:00 am | Updated: 4:39 pm, Thu May 30, 2013.

RA Sushi at La Encantada Mall recently updated its dinner menu, and what better way to get attention than inviting the media to come and sample a variety of the new dishes and drinks.

Last week, the diners were treated to a four-course display of appetizers, entrees, dessert and cocktails.

“Every year, RA Sushi refreshes its menu to keep the choices new and exciting for our guests,” said Executive Chef Tai Obata. “We stay true to our popular favorites, while introducing some new flavors focused on culinary trends.”

We started out with some of the new cocktails. I chose to go with the under 200-calorie drink, the Cucumber Collins ($8). This seemed like the perfect drink for a hot summer evening with a cool mix of cucumber vodka, fresh cucumber, fresh lime juice, Monin Sugar Free Sweetener and soda.

The first drink was a little bitter, but it definitely grew on me. I realize the main ingredient is cucumber, but there was a tad too much of it for my taste.

My husband, Jon, couldn’t really decide at first. He thought the Ginger Blossom ($8) sounded good, but worried he might get a “pink drink.”

He decided to be secure in his masculinity and ordered the cocktail that contained a blend of Tito’s vodka, muddled strawberry, pink grapefruit, lime and ginger beer.

He was pleased with the end result, and yes, it was pink. The drink is creative and refreshing.

In the second round of drinks, I went with a recommended item, the under 200-calorie Kiwi-Berry Kiss ($8). I like sweet drinks, but found this one to be a little too sweet for my taste.

The drink contained Voli Lemon vodka muddled with  kiwi, strawberry, citrus, Monin Sugar Free Sweetener and soda.

Jon, going from a recommendation from a fellow diner, tried the Coconut Mojito ($8), which is a concoction of Cruzan Estate Light rum hand muddled with lime, sugar, soda and fresh mint.

After drinks and light conversation, the food started coming, starting with a three-appetizer selection.

The plate included the newly-added Edamame Dip ($5.25), Bonfire Shrimp ($11.25) and Garlic Edamame.

The dip, which is warm edamame and spinach with wonton chips for dipping, was creative. It had some good flavors.

The shrimp, while a tad spicy, was the clear winner of the appetizer selections.

I can’t say the Garlic Edamame was a huge hit. The problem with edamame is do you eat all of it, or just the beans inside. When you eat just the beans it feels like you were missing out on the garlic butter and Asian seasoning. When I ate the whole thing, I got all the flavors of the seasonings and the sauce at the same time.

The second course generated a lot of discussion with RA Sushi giving the diners a sampling of three of the new tacos (All taco dishes are $8.25). The tacos were all rolled in rice paper, which I found to be a nice touch, but lacked the flavor I really enjoy in my tacos.

The first taco was a spicy salmon mix with lettuce, crumbled wasabi rice cracker bits and guacamole in a rice paper shell. This was mine, and several of the other diners’, least favorite of the group. There just seemed to be something missing.

When I learned that they also had a new tuna taco on the menu, I found myself wishing they had allowed me to try that one instead.

The second taco was a “RA”ckin Shrimp taco. This was the best by far, with the shrimp, coleslaw and guacamole in the rice paper shell working well together.

The third taco, consisting of chilled shredded sake steamed chicken with Asian vegetables in a rice paper shell. While Jon wasn’t as fond of it, I loved the chilled chicken. I thought this taco had good flavor and substance.

With our stomachs already getting full, the third course was rolled out with a small sampling of salmon with green beans ($10.25), black pepper teriyaki Asian chicken wings, chili ponzu Asian chicken wings ($7.25) and drunken black mussels in a garlic and seasoned soy sauce. ($9.25)

I will start with the mussels, which was the most disappointing part of the night. While some of the mussels were heated perfectly and seasoned perfectly, others were cold and sandy. Not the mussel dish I was hoping for when I read the menu selection at the beginning of the night.

The highlight, however, was the salmon with green beans. I will say I am  not a fan of salmon, but this was cooked and seasoned well. I could see myself trying this as a main course when we return to RA Sushi.

The two selections of chicken wings were liked and appreciated by Jon, but I usually don’t think about wings when I go to a sushi place.

The evening ended with a selection of Mochi Ice Cream, which is a sweet Japanese dessert. The ice cream was wrapped in sweet rice paper, and garnished with sliced kiwi and strawberries. The strawberry ice cream was great, and the dish was a perfect, light, ending to a night leaving all of us full.

In the end, it was nice to sample a few of the new menu selections at RA. Some of them will probably be ordered along with sushi the next time we go.

RA Sushi is located at 2905 E. Skyline Dr. Lunch is served between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily, and dinner is served until 11 p.m. The bar is open until midnight.

Happy hour food and beverage specials are offered Monday through Saturday, between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Reverse happy hour is served between 10 p.m. and midnight.

I can’t say the Garlic Edamame was a huge hit. The problem with edamame is do you eat all of it, or just the beans inside. When you eat just the beans it feels like you were missing out on the garlic butter and Asian seasoning. When I ate the whole thing, I got all the flavors of the seasonings and the sauce at the same time.

The second course generated a lot of discussion with the diners a sampling of three of the new tacos (All taco dishes are $8.25). The tacos were all rolled in rice paper, which I found to be a nice touch, but lacked the flavor I really enjoy in my tacos.

The first taco was a spicy salmon mix with lettuce, crumbled wasabi rice cracker bits and guacamole in a rice paper shell. This was my, and several of the other diners’, least favorite of the group. There just seemed to be something missing.

When I learned that they also had a new tuna taco on the menu, I found myself wishing they had allowed me to try that one instead.

The second taco was a “RA”ckin Shrimp taco. This was the best by far, with the shrimp, coleslaw and guacamole in the rice paper shell working well together.

The third taco, consisting of chilled shredded sake steamed chicken with Asian vegetables in a rice paper shell. While Jon wasn’t as fond of it, I loved the chilled chicken. I thought this taco had good flavor and substance.

With our stomachs already getting full, the third course was rolled out with a small sampling of salmon with green beans ($10.25), black pepper teriyaki Asian chicken wings, chili ponzu Asian chicken wings ($7.25) and drunken black mussels in a garlic and seasoned soy sauce. ($9.25)

I will start with the mussels, which was the most disappointing part of the night. While some of the mussels were heated perfectly and seasoned perfectly, others were cold and sandy. Not the mussel dish I was hoping for when I read the menu selection at the beginning of the night.

The highlight, however, was the salmon with green beans. I will say I am  not a fan of salmon, but this was cooked and seasoned well. I could see myself trying this as a main course when we return to RA Sushi.

The two selections of chicken wings were savored and appreciated by Jon, but I usually don’t think about wings when I go to a sushi place.

The evening ended with a selection of Mochi Ice Cream, which is a sweet Japanese dessert. The ice cream was wrapped in sweet rice paper, and garnished with sliced kiwi and strawberries. The strawberry ice cream was great, and the dish was a perfect, light, ending to a night leaving all of us full.

In the end, it was nice to sample a few of the new menu selections at RA. Some of them will probably be ordered along with sushi the next time we go.

RA Sushi is located at 2905 E. Skyline Dr. Lunch is served between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily, and dinner is served until 11 p.m. The bar is open until midnight.

Happy hour food and beverage specials are offered Monday through Saturday, between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Reverse happy hour is served between 10 p.m. and midnight.

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