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RA Sushi

I find it so laughable when people refer to themselves as a “sushi guru” — seriously, if you have not been to Japan at least 5 times to eat real sushi (including for breakfast) with at least one visit to Osaka or Kyoto then you cannot and should never call yourselves that, okay? Oh, and even if you have, eating sushi from the supermarket, train station, or ball park doesn’t count. Ever.

RA Sushi (Buckhead)

I had absolutely no expectations when a group of us 13 girls came in for dinner one busy Saturday night. The reason being, I prefer authentic sushi from traditional sushi joints. RA Sushi clearly doesn’t qualify but we wanted to have a fun girls’ night out at a trendier place with at least good cocktails and decent food. With those pretty low standards and expectations of good food out of the way, I knew it was going to be nothing but a fun night.

RA Sushi (Buckhead)

While all the other girls got different kinds of rolls, dinner selections for me and my sister included the sashimi plates, eel hosamaki, and uni gunkanmaki (our absolute favorite). We really don’t care much for bastardized rolls geared for the American palate which are often doused, drizzled, laced, and topped with fruit, mayo, sauces, cream cheese, and such. Anyway, here’s the kicker: the sashimi was absolutely exceptional!!! (Notice the triple exclamation points?) I love it when a place proves me wrong and I was totally blown away by the sashimi here. The fish were of the perfect temperature and the slices were done right. The most surprising thing was the quality. I could not believe how superb the quality of the fish were — first, the tuna wasn’t just regular tuna but the pricier and higher caliber chutoro. Each slice was so fresh, buttery, and literally melted in your mouth. The yellowtail, salmon, and whitefish were of equal grade and without the sinewy, stringy flesh common in cheaper cuts. The octopus were also a delight, tender, and not chewy at all. Sashimi is all about texture because, face it, raw fish should not taste like anything. You can control how much flavor you want to add with the shiso, soy sauce, wasabi, and daikon. I just wished they used fresh wasabi for the price point that they have. Surprisingly, however, the sashimi was outstanding for a place like this with so much bad rep and preconceived bias, mine included.

RA Sushi (Buckhead)

Uni (sea urchin) is our most favorite sushi. A perfect meal for us would be a pound of freshly harvested uni on top of warm sushi rice, aah, so yummy. The uni here was very fresh and creamy. It was of medium grade but had all the tastes of top quality variety. The sweetish-salty flavor is quite intoxicating.

RA Sushi (Buckhead)

We originally wanted eel hosamaki which was not on the menu so a bit of explaining to the server had to be made. My sister and I love hosamakis because they’re the perfect snack: not much rice and the nori gives extra flavor to the fish. What came before us was regular eel roll instead. Rather than sending it back, I decided to use it as a measuring stick. The main reason for sloppy rolls is the rice. Here, the rice is too soft, brought about by using too much water in the steaming process. Too soft rice will make rolls fall apart as there is not enough structure to hold the ingredients in. I did like the fact that they use teriyaki sauce sparingly.

RA Sushi (Buckhead)

RA Sushi (Buckhead)

RA Sushi (Buckhead)

RA Sushi (Buckhead)

RA Sushi (Buckhead)

Another notable item on the table was the ceviche which was excellent. The fish was so fresh and the citrus marinade was very good. We don’t like American rolls so we didn’t even try any but I noticed how big they were. Our seaweed salad was nothing out of the ordinary but it wasn’t bad either. The tempura were a bit over-fried and the batter was coated unevenly. Skip the overpriced edamame altogether.

Final thoughts:

  • Definitely a fun, energetic place especially for groups.
  • We had two servers (a main one and an assistant) so service was pretty good.
  • Syrupy cocktails tend to be extremely sweet.
  • Prices are reflective of the area and type of establishment, which were quite reasonable.
  • They were playing awesome music on our visit: rock, pop, indie folk, indie rock, 80s, 90s.
  • Bathrooms are located on the main floor which is a pain to get to if you’re hanging around upstairs waiting for your table.
  • I hate it that they offer you something but don’t tell you that it’s not free. The edamame is so overpriced at $3.50.

The scoop:
RA Sushi
1080 Peachtree Street, Suite 8
Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 267-0114

RA Sushi on Urbanspoon

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16 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mau // Oct 13, 2009 at 10:49 am

    See…that’s why I’ve never really gotten in to Sushi, sashimi to be specific: “raw fish should not taste like anything”. I just don’t understand that.

    I’ve always been of the opinion that 98% of the experience of eating is the taste and aroma. The other 2% is any nutritional value and any aesthetic merit the dish may have.

    Why eat something when the only flavor you get is from shiso, soy sauce, wasabi, and daikon? If those were the flavors I wanted, I’d just make a little salad.

  • 2 Chloe // Oct 13, 2009 at 11:07 am

    It’s the simplicity of sashimi that makes it what it is. You’re right, it’s definitely not for you. I’m pretty sure French and Spanish cuisines (in particular) are more to your liking — with its heavy sauces and compounded flavors.

    And I disagree that taste and aroma comprise 98% of the eating experience. Some of the best dishes are devoid of too many complex flavors — e.g. sashimi, tuna tartare, beef carpaccio, to name a few. Fresh fish that taste like the ocean trumps any casserole, in my book.

  • 3 David // Oct 13, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Are you saying that you are a sushi guru because you have completed the tasks in the opening paragraph of this post? And you think sashimi should be tasteless? This attitude is pretentious and off-putting. Have you considered how you sound to your readers? Even to those of us who have, say, lived in Japan and taken cooking classes?

    Zyman is (constantly) guilty of this type of writing, too, so you are not unique in Atlanta.

  • 4 Sean // Oct 13, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Oh boy…I bet she complains about fatty toro too…

    As da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. The taste and aroma of the dish are important but once you start adding too many flavor profiles together, they get lost and the dish gets too complex. You don’t need sauces to make up for flavor when you’re working with quality ingredients. Looks like that diet Coke commercial isn’t doing any good.

    I forgot who did the review but I remember seeing some ridiculous rolls from RA couple months ago. I had it crossed off my list to go but will have to check it out now!

  • 5 Chloe // Oct 13, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    David– I have NEVER, ever said I was a sushi guru. But I’ve heard so many people say they were and yet the only sushi they’ve ever eaten are the American version.

    In any case, when did sashimi ever been “flavorful”? I have yet to hear anyone say, “Oh, that sashimi is just so delicious and flavorful!” Have you? I’d be so scared to eat “flavored” sashimi which usually means the fish is about to go bad or is already bad so they need to add some “extra” flavoring.

  • 6 Chloe // Oct 13, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Amen, Sean! :)

    Forget the rolls, get the sashimi if you ever find yourself there. BUT, I wouldn’t necessarily go there just to have sashimi. There are much better places, of course.

  • 7 evanz // Oct 13, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    I am not a sushi guru by the definition given (never been to Japan). However, I can say that I am close, because I have been twice to the best sushi place in San Francisco. It’s called Zushi Puzzle. If you ever get a chance to go, sit at the bar. The chef’s name is Roger. He will give you the time of your life. Be prepared to spend big bucks though. Last time I went with my bro and his girlfriend, it was $300.

  • 8 Chloe // Oct 13, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Thanks for the tip, Evan!

  • 9 evanz // Oct 13, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    I think when people say “fish shouldn’t smell/taste fishy”, they’re really just saying that “fish shouldn’t smell like *rotten* fish”. Certainly there are differences – perhaps, subtle – in flavor between types of fish and even parts of the same fish. The flavor of butterfish is different from ocean trout or toro. In my experience, the fresher the fish, the more expert the cut (in other words, the better the sushi), the more these differences become apparent — and appreciated. To my mind, the sushi chef/restaurant really should be judged primarily by the sashimi over everything else.

  • 10 Martin // Oct 16, 2009 at 9:52 am

    A Filipino-American Perspective

    I think the contextual use of the term ‘sushi guru’ in this review conveyed snobbery akin to proclaiming ultimate chic-ness with designer labels. I would surmise that a sushi guru is a chef at the pinnacle of sushi chef-ness and the appropriate term that Chloe should have used was ‘discerning sushi consumer.’ By ridiculing the Americanization of sushi and somewhat alluding to the pervasiveness of low standard sushi establishments – in America, the overall tone of the piece is snobbish to your general American readers. After reading the first passages I am left feeling that authentic sushi should arrive at my table in singles austerely perched on a half clam shell by way of an ocean wave with a loud gong, while an imperious sushi guru scrutinizes me from a elevated perch to ensure that I don’t taste anything.

    I’m sure this isn’t what Chloe meant to convey and that she merely wanted to establish that she has a discerning palate for sushi and therefore find credibility with her judgment in regards to what authentic sushi should be. I will venture out to RA Sushi based on her review because I do love good sushi and the fact that I am slightly oblivious to my continued participation in the depletion/extinction of the world’s ocean fish. Fish heads eat them up yum!

  • 11 Chloe // Oct 17, 2009 at 1:09 am

    Sorry, Martin, but you totally missed it… by a long shot. I meant exactly what I said. And I’ll say it again: I have heard so many people refer to themselves as “sushi gurus” when, in fact, they haven’t even been outside of Georgia, or worse, outside the perimeter. Three specific people come to mind but I will not name names to protect the guilty. All these people (including the infamous three) had nothing but bad things to say about RA Sushi when, I am pretty sure, the only sushi or sashimi they’ve ever had were from strip malls created by “non-traditional” sushi chefs (feel free to make up your own conclusion as to what I mean by “non-traditional”).

    The sashimi I had at RA was fantastic. And I’ve never called myself a “sushi guru”. :)

  • 12 Martin // Oct 20, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Oh I see. That example should have been your first paragraph; it would have cleared everything up. : P

  • 13 Will // Oct 29, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    We went here for a friend’s birthday a little while back and am surprised of your hood review. Being a nice space a lot of us were excited to check it out. We went with about 20 people and were greeted excitedly by our 4 waiters. However after that everything was a disaster. About an hour after we ordered we still did not get all of our dishes. This is after we reminded one of our waitresses that food was missing. When bringing out the food the waitresses were unsure of which roll they brought out more than once. My chirashi was off in it did not seem fresh and a few others at the table mentioned the sane about their fish. In the end 3 people did not het parts of their order.

    They did follow up by giving a free appt coupon and offering to discount our meals. However they discounted it by taking a few random dishes off the total bill which made it difficult enough to figure out (with 20 people) that we just decided whoever had their meal off just don’t need to pay.

    In short never going again but I have a free appt coupon for anyone that wants it!

  • 14 Chloe // Oct 29, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Will — I’ve heard so many inconsistencies about this place, both in the service and food. My one and only visit and service was great and the sushi was excellent, lol.

  • 15 Will // Oct 29, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    Hey Chloe, sorry for the bad spelling in the last post. I was at Hanabi Sushi on my iphone when typing it. I often give restaurants a second chance if it’s just the food that is wrong but the fact that the service was just horrendous (4 waiters too!) I feel like that is more deeply rooted in the culture of the management.

    I’m glad your experience was a positive one. Great blog you have here. I’m quite happy to see you seem to have a healthy craving for Ramen as I do. Looking forward to see your Ramen comparison!

    Even the means of compensation was rather haphazard.

  • 16 Meh // Nov 27, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    My god you are so incredibly arrogant.

    EOM

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