I love good sushi. But then again, I can say, “I love good (insert any type of food here).” Ms. Classy and I visited Raku in Bethesda a week before and since it was a date, we didn’t break out the cameras and take notes (that really kills the date mood – as Ms. Classy informed me on a couple of occasions). However, she was out of town this weekend, so I decided to return with my notepad and camera dusted off (it HAS been a while since I’ve posted, hasn’t it?) and ready to sit down and do some serious eating.
The day was warm and I was quite hungry, so I started with a Sapporo beer. My empty stomach combined with my low alcohol tolerance gave me a nice buzzy feeling while waiting for the waiter to return for my full order. To start a sushi dinner, I like the seaweed salad or edamame. At most places, these are fairly small portions that are not meant to be shared. At Raku, the seaweed salad seems high at $7.50, but there’s plenty to go around. It was a large dish, which sufficed as an appetizer for two. The edamame was nice and tender. I prefer it with a little salt, which is how it is served at some places, but not here. Oh well, nothing stopped me from adding it myself. I chose one of my favorite beers for out-door warm-weather dining, a cool and light Sopparo. I think it’s one of the best drinks for a warm, sunny day.
For the main course, there are two rolls worth highlighting at Raku: the Crunchy Spicy Tuna ($6) and the Wasabi Dynamite Roll ($8). The touch of cilantro in the Crunch Spicy Tuna roll, aside from the satisfying crunchy texture and the spicy zip, makes this roll a must have. The Wasabi Dynamite Roll comes with a combination of three fish (tuna, salmon, and yellowtail) with wasabi-flavored roe. It’s not as spicy as the name suggests, but I really enjoyed the flavor and texture of the roe along with the cool, savory fish. For a third roll, if you like your rolls smooth, simple, and creamy, try any of the Ava-Q rolls using whichever fish you prefer.
One thing I really like about sushi (besides the yumminess) is the control you have over your final bill as opposed to most other cuisines. Oh sure, you can break the bank with multiple specialty rolls, but if you choose carefully, you can have a nice meal without having to recalculate your budget. You can get a smorgasbord of simple rolls or go with one specialty roll with a simple roll on the side. Ms. Classy and I usually do the latter.
If you need to watch your wallet, this is not the everyday place to hit, but it’s a nice place to bring a date. You’ll enjoy the quality of food and the penny-pincher inside all of us will enjoy the wide variety of rolls $6 and under.
-Mr. Cheap Eats