Friday, April 15, 2011

RA Sushi - Sushi For The Non-Traditional Crowd (Tustin, CA)

RA Sushi
RA Sushi

I love sushi. Whether it's sushi at a place like Urasawa or the all you can eat sushi variety, I'll probably eat it. Though, with that said, I would probably steer away from the latter option now. Back when I was an undergrad at UC Davis, my buddies and I loved dining at the ever popular (popular in Davis at least) Fuji's all you can eat sushi buffet. Hey, at $8 for lunch (circa 2000) it was a steal. Now at $15, not so much. Those days are history, as sushi dining for me has become an enjoyment, not a gluttonous feast.

For the most part, I prefer traditional nigiri sushi and sashimi from the freshest fishes around the world. However, there are those times when I would want to just eat a spider roll and drink some sake bombs, and this is where RA Sushi comes in. I was recently invited to try RA Sushi's new menu.


You really can't go wrong with a bowl of edamame.

Ginger Blossom
Ginger Blossom - Hendrick's Gin, St. Germain, muddled strawberry, pink grapefruit juice, lime juice, ginger ale

Dragon Bite
Dragon Bite - Bacardi Dragonberry, strawberry puree, fresh lemon juice, Japanese yuzu, splash of soda

To get the meal started off on the right foot, my dining companion and I ordered a round of cocktails. While the drinks may look similar, they had a distinctly different flavors from the fruit and liqueur used. Both were quite delicious and fruity. No complaints from me there.

Otoko Salad
Otoko Salad - grilled chicken or beef tossed in a spicy yuzu dressing with grilled red green bell peppers, onions, asparagus; served over a bed of mixed greens in a rice wine vinaigrette and topped with watercress, fried ramen noodles

The otoko salad was first served to us. Since it was a tasting, we were given both the chicken and the beef in the salad. I will have to say I was pleasantly surprised with this salad. The flavors and the textures were on point. Both the beef and the chicken were good options for this salad.

Shishito Peppers
Shishito Peppers - shishito peppers sauteed in an Asian seasoning

Even though shishito peppers is being played out as bit too much these days, I still enjoy eating them.

Sushi Plate
Sushi Plate

Vegetable Tempura Roll
Vegetable Tempura Roll - lightly battered asparagus, sweet potato, Japanese eggplant rolled and topped with colorful crunchy tempura bits; drizzled with a sweet eel sauce.

Pacific Roll
Pacific Roll - a spicy mix of albacore, cilantro, jalapeno, and cucumber rolled and topped with fresh avocado,  mango salsa; finished with red beet tempura bits, and sauteed cashew nuts

"RA" ckin' Roll
"RA" ckin' Roll - kani kama crab and cream cheese rolled in rice and seaweed, lightly battered and topped with guacamole and "RA" ckin' shrimp; finished with a creamy ginger teriyaki dipping sauce, red beet tempura bits and togarashi

Tropical Roll
Tropical Roll - cucumber, mango and avocado rolled and topped with spinach tempura bits, spicy shrimp mixed with masago and mango salsa

Mango Salsa
Mango Salsa

The sushi plate is exactly how I had imagined and were quite tasty in their own ways. Sure, these were of the "Asian-Fusion," sushi varieties, but sometimes fried soft shell crabs and avocado hits the spot. Of the 4 served, my favorite was the "RA" ckin' Roll. I enjoyed the flavors of the crab and avocado, and again, sometimes the fried component makes it so much better!

Red Lotus
Red Lotus - Absolut Ruby Red vodka, X-Rated Liqueur, pink grapefruit and other fresh juices

Emperor's Cucumberita
Emperor's Cucumberita - Patron Silver and Citronge shaken w/ fresh lime juice, Yuzu sour and fresh cucumber slice

A second round of cocktails were ordered and I was pleasantly surprised with the Emperor's Cucumberita. Originally, I figured I'd like the Red Lotus more based on the ingredients, but I really enjoyed the mix of tequila, lime, and cucumber.

Lobster with Garlic Sugar Snap Peas
Lobster with Garlic Sugar Snap Peas
Lobster with Garlic Snap Peas - lobster sauteed with garlic, sugar snap peas and shitake mushrooms in an Asian seasoning; served with steam rice

This was probably the most disappointing dish of the day. I wasn't able to get the taste of the shitake mushrooms, in fact, it was ground up somewhere in the dish. Also, I wasn't able to taste the sweetness of the lobster, which was sadly smaller than most of the shrimp I've encountered. The overall flavors were okay, but I was expecting more out of this one.

Sweet Mochi
Sweet Mochi - Mochi Ice Cream served with sliced kiwi and strawberries

This is the typical mochi ice cream you'll find in most stores, even at Costco. No description is really needed here.

All in all, I was actually pleasantly surprised with my meal here. Although the main course and dessert were slightly disappointing, I enjoyed the salad and the sushi course. RA Sushi is probably not the best place for sushi snobs or people that are looking for traditional sushi fare. However, if your goal is to eat  sushi rolls and drink beer or sake while catching the latest sports game on television, RA Sushi could be your destination.

RA Sushi - Tustin
2401 Park Avenue
Tustin, CA 92782
(714) 566-1700

Note: This was a sponsored meal


Anna A. said...

All the way down to Tustin! Those drink all look amazing...and the sushi plate. Skip the mochi, thanks Costco.

Gastronomer said...

Some of those rolls looked outrageous! I think my days of funky rolls with lots of stuff in them are over. It was fun while it lasted ;-)

Pandalicious said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pandalicious said...

Great photos! the drinks look good too.

I went to UCD and never heard of Fuji's. damn, i missed out on $8 AYCE SUSHI!! said...

Whoa, love those sushi rolls! the mochi ice cream looks so good. Great photos, fellow panda :)

joanh said...

rolls are one of the things i miss about southern cali while in taipei. weird right? we get amazing sashimi for great prices and i miss rolls. oh well.

how much was the sushi plate? gonna bookmark it for my trip back

Kung Food Panda said...

Anna: Go if you're in the area. The drinks were pretty OK!

Cathy: Ya, sometimes it's hard to get back to rolls, but sometimes it's not too bad.

Amy: I can't believe you never went to Fuji's!

Chef Pandita: Thanks fellow Panda! :)

Joan: Rolls can hit the spot sometimes. I'm not too sure about the prices since it was a media lunch, BUT they do have Happy Hour prices on these rolls that's a pretty good deal.