Sushi restaurants seem to fall into one of two camps. There is the pulsing, high energy type in Kona Grill’s mold, and those that are serene and peaceful, like Kaiyo, at 119th and Roe. RA Sushi is clearly one of the former, trying to appeal to those interested in a serious nightlife scene.
RA Sushi (pronounced RAH) is adjacent to the soon to open ALoft Hotel, owned by W hotels, in Leawood’s new Park Place development. And it’s across the way from Sushi House, another chain, and locally-owned Kaiyo. RA’s Leawood location is its 25th, and first in the bi-state area.
I recently went to RA for lunch. It’s moderately loud during the day, but I understand they crank up the music in the evening to the point that conversation can be difficult. It’s an attractive, sensual restaurant, with interesting red and black accessories, in a very contemporary setting.
I thought the sushi was quite good, especially the caterpillar roll, though it didn’t strike me as being superior to any other sushi restaurant about town. But it did have an unique sushi rice bowl that tasted as heavenly as it looked. The Bara Charashi Bowl (combo #11) was different than anything I have ever seen offered at a sushi restaurant. Chunks of yellowtail, spicy tuna, salmon, shrimp, avocado, cucumber and Asian green vegetables were atop a bed of rice sitting in a deep bowl. The texture was smooth and silky, and I loved the combination of flavors in every bite. I like to try new dishes every time I go to a new restaurant or an old favorite, but it will be hard not to order that again…and again.
A big selling point of RA Sushi will undoubtedly be its Happy Hour, with half-priced sushi and appetizers, and drink specials from 3:00-7:00 P.M. EVERY day except Sunday. How often do you see a restaurant offer deals on a Saturday, or through much of the dinner hour?? And this is not just an opening ploy–all of their restaurants around the country feature the same early-bird menu.
I suspect RA Sushi will be a hit with the late-night singles crowd and early-to-bedders who love a good deal. Either way, it’s going to provide some serious competition for its neighbors. I sincerely hope it doesn’t put too much of a dent in Kaiyo’s business, but these big-box chains certainly make it hard for the independent little guy.