Friday, August 21, 2009

Happy hour at new "Ra Sushi" in Leawood

Leo and I decided we didn't wanna cook dinner last night, and instead chose to hit up the new sushi restaurant in Leawood called Ra Sushi. (Warning: "Ra Radio" starts up pretty loudly once their site's in the lower left hand corner of the graphic, so pause it ASAP, unless you like that sort of thing blasting from your computer.) I read about it opening on someone's site last week (Fat City, maybe?) and have been trying to keep it out of my brain ever since. I usually don't like visiting a restaurant within the first 3 months of it being open, so it can work out it's kinks with the kitchen and waitstaff. But the happy hour menu and the basic fact that it was sushi we were talking about were too much for my willpower. So off we went!

Love the location and the restaurant itself. The night was perfect for them to have the front window walls open wide to the patio seating from the bar area, and I loved the open air warehouse feel of it all.

The sushi bar looked pretty nice, and while I would have preferred sitting there, Leo didn't seem to mind when the hostess led us to the general dining area instead, so I followed his lead. My first disappointment in the place was based on that, though...we weren't even asked if we wanted to sit at the sushi bar. There were around 6 people already up there, which left a good 16, or so, seats open for additional diners. Instead, we were lead to a table in the very back corner of the restaurant. By the restrooms. When there were literally 10 - 15 other tables for them to choose to seat us at.

Now, the fat girl in me felt that it was a slight made by the pretty hostess that greeted us, as if she was saying, "Um, look don't exactly belong here." But the practical side of me felt that it was likely just time for someone to be seated in that particular server's section, and that table did seem to have a fair amount of distance from any of the speakers that were blasting out the loud music they play in the place, so I tried to brush it off and go with the flow. (Maybe they couldn't see the adorable shoes that I had on. They're ogle-worthy all by themselves, dammit!) I'm not one to generally wish to sit in a place that is based on seeing-and-being-seen, anyway. I guess.

Being able to hear the toilets flush in the bathroom while we were eating, though, was not exactly my favorite part of the evening.

Now on to something I DID like: the service was wonderful. We were greeted by a server who was being "shadowed" who explained that since it was the girl's last night of shadowing, she'd likely be the one helping us for the most part. So we wound up with a waitress at the end of her training who's name is Riki. Very nice, very friendly, very open to hearing my commentary about the food we were eating. All around really sweet girl. (She could stand to work on her habit of calling people "honey" or "hon" every other sentence, though. But I used to do that when I was a waitress, so I totally get why she did it.)

The happy hour menu was a big part of the reason we were there, as it is shown on the website to be a really large one with LOTS of yummy options. We started with a bowl of edamame, and an order of veggie tempura. Unfortunately, the edamame tasted like...well, nothing, really. They were perfectly cooked, so that was nice. But it was almost like they'd had the flavor boiled out of them. Which would be impossible, since they were so perfectly cooked. It made no sense in my head. The restaurant oversalts them a bit, IMO. Maybe to make up for the fact that they have no flavor? I dunno. Compared to edamame at Friends, or Sushi House, or even that I can cook in my own damned kitchen, this was sorely lacking, is all. BUT. It only cost $1.95, thanks to the happy hour menu! Woo!

Along those same lines, the veggie tempura also kinda sucked. Again, cooked well...the veggies at least tasted good, too. But the batter was flavorless, as though they forgot to season it. And the tempura dipping sauce they served basically tasted like a low sodium veggie broth. It, too, had little flavor, and that wasn't helpful. I tried adding some ponzu to it, but their ponzu they use is so vinegary, it only made it taste like a vinegar broth. So I was done with the veggies after that. Again, since they only cost something like $3.50, and it was a HUGE portion...srsly, enormous quantity of veggie were was ok.

The sushi made up for all that. Next time, we'll likely skip the appetizers, and just drink beer and eat a shit ton of sushi. We got the standard nigiri (fish laying over rice) fare for us: salmon, tuna, and yellowtail, and they were all half price from the regular menu. (They also offer shrimp nigiri for half price on their happy hour menu, but we aren't shrimp nigiri fans, so we didn't order that.) The fish was awesome quality, and very tasty. We had a total of 12 pieces.

In addition, we picked up a tootsy maki roll, a crispy spicy tuna roll, and a crunchy calamari roll. All three were yummy, but I think the tootsy maki was something we'll skip in the future. Seemed like a glorified California roll to me, because of all the crab they pop in it. It was tasty, but just not our thing.

The crispy spicy tuna roll is very unusual. They set the spicy tuna mixture on top of something they call a crispy sesame rice ball. This is basically a teeny fried pillow of happiness for my mouth. There were only 4 on the plate, vs. the normal 6 - 8 cuts you get from a standard cut roll. But they were very filling, and well-worth the happy hour price of $4.75.

The crunchy calamari roll came at the end of our meal, when both Leo and I were pretty well close to a sushi coma. I didn't realize they had cream cheese in them...I've never eaten sushi with cream cheese in it because, well...ew. It's never sounded good to me, for some reason. But I was ready to buck up and try it finally. And while the cream cheese still isn't a favorite ingredient in a roll, I can see why they put it into some. The calamari was cooked perfectly (yay!) and was tender and delicious. Overall, it was a nice way to end the meal, so I'm glad we tried it.

After all that food, as well as two beers (for $4 and $5, respectively), our bill with tax came to just over $47.

Fuck. Yeah.

If we'd forgone the appetizers and gotten more nigiri sushi, even outside of the happy hour menu (I love Japanese yellowtail, and they have it! I can't wait to get me some...), we probably still would have made it out of there for less than $55, which is a damned decent price for a good sushi meal for two, IMO.

We're really looking forward to heading to Ra again soon. They have all kinds of other stuff I want to try, although I'm glad to know that if I'm craving tempura anytime soon, I should stick to my normal bento box lunch from Sushi House instead of trying the one at Ra I was going to try. (Or I can give a go at their salmon or chicken teriyaki. Yum.) It was a fun place, and there was plenty of space there to handle the during-the-week dinner crowd that was hitting it up, which was nice. I'd say we give it 3 out of 4 stars, if that helps at all.


Layla said...

OK, I hate you.... YUM!... We totally have to go once I pop this Kid out!

emawkc said...

Okay, either I'm a dumbass or that website sux, because I can't find the menu or the location for this place. Is it in that new "lifestyle center" at a Hunderd-and-whatever and Nall?

Faith said...

Layla, they have all kinds of cooked options. We could try it now, if you wanna...:)

Emaw, the little circle thingy around the red "RA" symbol in the left center of the page has all the links to the different parts of the site. Menu, awards, contact, happy hour, etc, etc...

And yeah, it's in the lifestyle center off of Nall. Near Trezo Vino, or whatever that's called, and across the mini-street from California Pizza Kitchen. We parked in the bottom level of the structure, and walked over. It's pretty much directly below the new LOFT Hotel...there's a lot of construction at their front door, but it's maneuverable. As I heard it, Ra will be the main room service menu provider for the new hotel. Awesomeness. :D

faithstwin said...

MMMmmmm... sounds yummy! I especially want to try the crunchy spicy tuna- my fav sushi mixed with fried stuff!? HELL yeah.

Nuke said...

Sounds good, as I am not really a big appetizer guy at sushi places.

My favorite east end of town (that is to say closer to me) sushi joint has a different crispy spicy tuna roll. It's like a normal spicy tuna, but a little thicker. Then it's wrapped, tempura battered, and fried. It's still good when it cools but its fantastic warm!

Jill said...

I want sushi! Damn you Faith! said...

so - my husband and i went there on your recommendation sat. night... during happy hour...the best $40 we could have spent. the hot sake for $2 was great - along w/ the 5 1/2 price rolls of sushi we consumed! thanks for the recommendation!

Faith said...

That's another thing I like about the place...the happy hour is on Saturdays, too!

I don't like the beer offerings on the happy hour menu, though. They aren't as "happy" as I'd like them to be. (Give me a Sapporo Light for $3 during that time, and I'd be a happier camper!)