RoCK on RA!

In today's guest post, Robert of Cross Keys has a similar experience to mine at RA Sushi, which is always reassuring to me, except he didn't take a classical music critic as his companion and his waitress didn't hand out condoms. Here's RoCK. EL

This week I went to a media event at RA Sushi.  The wife was able to get me an invite, but it wasn’t easy. She was getting stonewalled by the publicist with questions like, “Who is he?”

This lack of recognition had me feeling like Al Cowlings. Oh, how I wanted to say: "This is RoCK! You know who this is, dammit!"...

I doubt, however, it would have done much good. Apparently, the name Robert of Cross Keys is not widely known outside of certain niche markets, and by that I mean my Facebook account.  

RA Sushi eventually decided to let me attend.  Maybe it was because someone backed out.  Maybe it was because my wife told them that I was driving her down there, and the management decided it wouldn’t be good for business to have some guy standing outside with his face pressed against the window.  I can't say for sure.

I walked into RA Sushi for the first time, and I would be lying if I said it is my kind of place. My preference in a sushi restaurant is more traditional, low-key, and if you’ll indulge a moment of pretentiousness, Zen-like. 

Well, that's not RA Sushi.  You won’t find tranquility and Geisha girls here.  Instead you’ll find house music that is turned up to 11 and a healthy looking wait staff wearing adult Mad Libs T-shirts that say “Nice ____. Can I ___ them?” If that's a Buddhist teaching, it's one I’m unfamiliar with.

This event was to showcase a new tasting menu that featured a good selection of various items, including crispy shrimp, ceviche and chicken teriyaki.   These items, while tasty, are not what I’m looking for from a tasting menu from a sushi restaurant. I’m there for the sushi, and the sushi items they had on this menu, with a few exceptions, tended to be mostly baked, fried or filled with cream cheese.  Again, I’m not going to say that these items aren’t tasty because they are, but if I order a tasting menu from a sushi restaurant I’m looking for the taste of fresh fish.  I want bluefin, yellowtail and white tuna.  Give me salmon, scallop and uni.

Everything I had at RA Sushi was very fresh and of good quality, so I believe the place is capable of things beyond cream cheese.  I think the problem is that a lot of the people who go here really don’t like fish, and that leads to a tasting menu that is perhaps too accessible.

In the end I think I have to accept what RA Sushi is trying to be. Much like Sullivan’s Steakhouse, it's packaging sex, food and rock and roll into a party-like atmosphere. If that's not what you're looking for, I don’t know if adding some uni to a tasting menu is going to turn you into a regular.  Either this is your scene or it is not.  

At the end of the evening, however, came a reason to believe that maybe this place did have something for everyone. Over the stereo system there was a break in the hip hop for some “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey. And everybody loves Journey.

(Lloyd Fox/Sun photographer)

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