Sunday, February 8, 2015

New Winter Menu Offerings at RA Sushi

RA Sushi
2401 Park Ave. 
Tustin, CA 92782

Katie does not ask too much from me. Yes, I have to sometimes take out the trash, maybe make the bed, and every once in awhile, I have to empty the dishwasher. When she asks me to do these things, it's not really nagging either. She genuinely feels sorry about asking me to do these things, so I try to accommodate most of her wishes most of the time. One of those wishes is that we have sushi once a month.

I could give or take sushi. It's not my favorite thing to eat, but I really don't mind it either. Katie on the other hand wants it a lot more than me, so when we were approached by RA Sushi to come in to try their new Winter Menu offerings, Katie was beyond excited. She even made plans to leave work early, and we headed off to the District at Tustin Legacy.

We had not been back to RA Sushi in about five years. We reviewed it once, which you can see here. Please excuse the awful pictures. I have since learned that pictures need to be in focus to look good. It also helps you to see what we actually ate. We had a very pleasant time that night five years ago at happy hour, and just haven't found time to go back. RA still has that hip, fun vibe that we loved so much on our first visit. Red and black dominates the color scheme here, and with the vibrant music playing over the sound system, it gives this restaurant a hip, almost club kind of vibe to it.

RA Sushi opened for business in 1997, and has since expanded to 27 locations in 9 states. We are lucky to have six of these spots in the Southern California area, including another OC location at The Strand in Huntington Beach. We arrived at this Irvine spot at 5pm, and the restaurant was already packed with people consuming copious amounts of sushi and appetizers during their great happy hour.

The happy hour at RA is more like an all day thing. It starts at 3 and goes until 7pm Monday through Friday, then starts up again from 10pm til closing. They even have happy hour on the weekends, running from 10pm to closing on Saturday, and 8 until closing on Sunday. That's a lot of hours to take advantage of their nearly 30 food items that they have on their happy hour menu, which is nicely matched by their numerous beverages that are marked down to celebrate the end of the workday. Happy hour would have to wait for us, as we were here to try their new Winter Menu Offerings.

As quickly as we sat down, this Chili Garlic Shrimp Starter was place in front of us. Quite a warm welcome by the people at RA Sushi. These shrimp featured a spicy kick, from a flavorful chili ponzu sauce, and were served on a bed of sauteed garlic and bok choy. Big time flavor with this appetizer, but the spice did not overpower. I liked the crunch from the tempura batter on the shrimp, and since Katie does not eat shrimp, I got to enjoy hers as well. Really solid start to their new Winter Menu Offerings.

Next up was the new King Crab Salad. This was the only miss of the night for me, but one of Katie's favorites. We can never agree on anything. This salad had large hunks of king crab included with the mixed greens, cubed avocados, cucumber slices, and grape tomatoes, which all came together with a Suehiro vinaigrette. I liked the fresh produce here, but would have liked more dressing on this. It was too lightly dressed for my taste, so I'd definitely ask for more dressing next time. For those of you still keeping your New Years resolution to eat lighter, this is the salad for you.

Since this is RA Sushi, sushi was definitely on the menu on this night. We started things off with this non-traditional Crunchy Yami Roll. It came with tempura sweet potato, cucumber, avocado, and was topped with crunchy shredded sweet potato and spinach tempura, and was finished off with a sweet eel sauce. Even for this carnivore, I did not miss the absence of meat in this roll. I liked the crunch of the outer portion of this, and the soft center. Very tasty eel sauce brought this all together.

This showstopper of the night is just in time for Valentine's Day, the Red Heart Roll. Everyone in attendance on this night really enjoyed the presentation here, but I was more impressed with the taste. Crab, avocado, and cucumber are rolled up, and topped with a spicy tuna, spicy mayo, and Sriracha. This really popped when consumed. Absolutely delicious, and the hearts on the plate will symbolize the love you have for this when you try it.

Anytime Katie sees ahi on a menu, she gets a little giddy. So when this Seared Ahi tuna came out, she could barely contain her enthusiasm. This beautiful tuna came seasoned with togarashi and black pepper. I learned writing this that togarashi is the Japanese name for red peppers, and this added a nice flavor to the ahi, which was served on top of asparagus, and a very nicely made shiitake mushroom cream sauce. I really enjoyed the sauce, which complimented the asparagus and tuna equally. Nicely done RA Sushi.

Not only does this new Winter Menu offer new food options, but it also has a number of new beverage options. There is a Blue Ginger Martini, and a Lychee Margarita for the more adventurous of people. What peeked my interest was their new Passion Punch Bowl. Meant to be shared, it is a fruity and refreshing drink served in a fish bowl. Coming back with friends for that one for sure. I was also pretty impressed with the TY KU Coconut Sake, which is a premium Nigori sake imported from Japan. The coconut was present, but hints of vanilla still came through. They offer this sake alone, or as a Seasonal Sake Flight that features three 2 ounce tastings, for people that are indecisive about their sake.

I really liked this new seasonal menu at RA Sushi, but what I liked more than that is they are trying to keep their menu fresh. So many successful restaurants would rest on their laurels, and not offer something new to their regular guests that might want to try something new. This is not the case at RA. I really enjoyed the ahi and the red heart roll the best. Make sure to make it out to try these soon, as they will only be around until the end of April, and are only available at the six Southern California area RA Sushi locations. Glad I could make Katie happy for once, even if I had a big assist from RA Sushi.

For more information about RA Sushi, go to their website here:

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