The mystique of sushi and geishaism (not a real word) seems synonymous with sexiness in modern sushi restaurants. Never more than present is the fine art of sushi more sexy than at RA Sushi Bar and Restaurant in Pointe Orlando on International Dr. With the building of Orlando Eye in full swing, there seems to be a tingling energy in revamping International Dr. RA Sushi is one of the newest additions to the many dining options that are popping up on the I-Drive. corridor.
RA Sushi is located in Pointe Orlando, which is a shopping and dining destination. Let me get this out and over with, except Downtown Orlando, nowhere else is paid parking. It seems a little overkill to have to pay for parking when everywhere else is free. Oh, they changed from manned pay booths to those machines. There is a replaying announcement to take your ticket with you and pay at the meter. I was there with very little parking garage activity and could not make out what the recording was trying to announce. I had to stand under a speaker to figure it out. Imagine when this garage is busy, would anyone be able to hear this message? Maybe they turn it up? Needless to say RA Sushi validates only valet parking. It might be wiser to valet park, get a validation, tip the attendant, than try to park in the garage and pay more. Just a thought.
Upon entrance you are faced with vast space that captivates with black ceiling and hanging bright red globes. The sushi bar anchors one side of the restaurant with a dazzling fish sculpture on the back wall. Back-lit wall invokes a mysterious and sexy glow with sushi chefs as moving silhouettes. Life-sized erotic female body form in various degrees of skin exposure provokes the senses. The long bar invites grazing of specialty cocktails or a few sake bombs. There is an equally sexy outdoor patio. Black furniture under red ceiling with the same hanging globes makes a very attractive setting for people watching or see and be seen. The setting of this restaurant adds a very adult tempo to the once family forward International Drive corridor.
With enough restaurants spattered across the US, RA Sushi has developed a very approachable and forward menu. Their Signature Sushi carry very creative and appetizing names. However, most of them include cream cheese. Maybe cream cheese is the signature? There are also common rolls, sashimi and nigiri found in most American sushi restaurants. Other items carry fanciful names but can be found in most restaurants. Of course there are some sprinkling of items unique to this chain. The sake selection is very limited for this caliber of restaurant. I expected a more varied and diverse list to include most categories. Nothing special on the beer list. Wine selections are well rounded. There are many choices of sake bombs and shots. We opted for a light fare.
Miso Soup – Too salty for my palate. Although, there was a generous helping of seaweed and tofu. The absence of MSG was delightful. Our server, offered that this was made extra robust for us to enjoy the full flavors as she does. Really? She actually went into the kitchen and whip up this soup. I find it hard to believe that this restaurant allows their servers to make miso soup broth rather than their chefs. I can see the server assembling this soup but not adjusting the “full flavor”. Maybe I could be totally wrong….
Ginger and wasabi – for the table. This is a very efficient way for ensuring that these condiments are at the table rather than the sushi chefs having to put this on every plate.
Crazy Monkey Roll – Smoked salmon, mango & cream cheese topped with avocado, red beet tempura bits & cashews; drizzled with mango & sweet eel sauces. There was an abundant of cream cheese which rendered an otherwise exciting roll too creamy. The red beets added great texture.
Beef Teriyaki Bento Box – served with miso soup, uchi no salad, rice, a pork gyoza & a vegetable spring roll. Although beef was ordered medium rare, it came out done. There is greens under every item, really, way too much.
Bara Chirashi – Tuna, salmon, yellowtail, shrimp, avocado & cucumber with Asian green vegetables, mixed with poki sauce; served over rice. This was a wonderful combination of flavors and textures. However, there were some stringy fish ends that added a chewy texture. Party in a bowl.
When we arrived at this restaurant we stood at the greeter stand for a good five minutes waiting. Greeter was absent, we figured maybe they were seating someone else, but the restaurant was empty. A bar tender was busy setting up the bar. A lone server wandered deep into the restaurant avoiding eye contact at all cost. The greeter finally showed up and was happy to seat us where ever we wanted. Our server meandered over, with the “Standard International Dr. Greeting”, Have you been here before? No. Then went on ask for a drink order. No description of the menu? I already told you about the miso soup rendition, The Crazy Monkey Roll was in her top three rolls also. I welcome server interaction and recommendation. But I do not need validation on everything I order. This is my dining experience not yours. Frankly, I don’t care what you like unless I ask you and while you are it wipe the fake smile off your face. If this is what guests of Orlando are going to experience then I suggest there is some adjustment. RA Sushi, don’t make the cardinal rule of sin in believing that because your physical plant is exciting that you will flourish. The restaurant business is still a people business. Invest in your biggest asset, your staff and make Orlando proud to house you.