I am not a chain hater. Some chains do very well simply by catering to one specific need of their target audience. After a media dinner at Ra Sushi last week, I am sensing that this first Atlanta outpost of an Arizona chain is here to give midtown a nice airy happy hour spot away from the congestion of 14th street.
Across the street from the marble federal reserve building and just off of busy Peachtree street, RA sushi's cheerful red umbrella dotted outdoor seating looked mighty inviting. Walking inside, we found an airy space with very high ceiling separated from the outdoor by a bamboo fence, which let in both light and a comforting breeze.
Both the bar and a communal table on the wall side of the large dinning area were populated with happy hour people. In short, this place was cheerful, something we were definitely in the mood for on a weeknight.
We didn't come here to be food snobs. We wanted a happy place to drink and have girl talks and that's what we got. Here is my beautiful friend Amanda happily sipping her saketini.
With drinks, we must snack. Experiences taught me that successful chains tend to have solid appetizers that are crowd pleasers, so we ordered along those lines. And we were proven right. The pork gyoza was of the thin wonton skin kind and boast juicy innards with plenty of pork flavor. The outside, browned in butter, was very pleasantly crispy.
We eat sushi often, but mostly at small Japanese run joints that serve fish unadorned. The most we do is dipping the fish in a bit of soy. We didn't come to Ra Sushi for that, which, to me, is not what this place is about. We came open to experiment a little with its American twists and combinations. For that, our server recommended the yellowtail appetizer showing off some texture and taste variations brought on by a mix of jalapeno, cashew, and a sriracha based dip. I know what sushi snobs would say about this, but I am a believer that food doesn't need to follow any specific format as long as it pleases the senses. This combination worked. A little spicy, a little nutty, a little creamy, it was fun to nibble on with drinks. Again, just because sushi is in the name doesn't mean that it is here to compete with MF Sushi or my favorite sushi house hayakawa on Buford highway. I wouldn't think of going to these two for happy hour drinks with raw fish, but I'd be happy to snack with drinks again at Ra Sushi to start a summer evening.
For sweets, we ordered the cinnamon tempera ice cream and the green tea ice cream not knowing that the former is large enough to fill a large dinner plate. The tempura portion was actually yellow cake lightly battered and fried, so a bit lighter than other versions that are pure tempura batter. We both noticed the unusually deep green tea flavor of the green tea ice cream. This may sound silly, but most green tea ice creams do not show off the slightly bitter true green tea flavor. While not very sweet, I enjoyed it.
So, in short, we are happy to see another airy place pop up in midtown, where one can sit away from the traffic congestion, have a drink, and nibble on some gyoza. Maybe we were lucky that day, but we actually found the adjacent parking garage open and free.
1080 Peachtree Street, Suite 8
Atlanta, GA 30309