Monday, October 13, 2008

Review: Raw

Tucked away on Sansom street is the long, narrow restaurant that is the sushi bar Raw.  The food, is classic japanese with ambitious, modern twists. P has been here several times of their lunch bento boxes, which are reportedly a great bargain. (salad, tempura, negamaki, sushi, together starting at 13 bucks).  He suggested we try it for his sister's birthday dinner, so off we went.
We were seated promptly near the sushi bar. Our server was nice and eager to please. Once informed about my sister in law's nut allergy, he was extra cautious and warned her about even non-nut items in the food, like olive oil, sesame seeds, and soybeans.   

Tuna Hako

The special rolls of the evening were described, which were massive and very complicated.  I stopped paying attention to the first one after I heard "spicy" since all spicy sauces include mayonnaise, which tops my icky foods list.  The second sounded good at first: king crab, eel, tuna, avocado, then on top there was more crab, cream cheese, cream sauce (I think).  Too much.  I also don't think cream cheese belongs in sushi.  Sorry if you do. 

Sushi Combo

The  ginger dressing on my green salad was creamy and tangy, and the portion was generous. The seaweed salad had just enough heat to provide a kick without being overpowering. The pan fried gyoza were tasty, although nothing spectacular.  P and I shared sushi, which good.  The fish was of excellent quality, the rolls well made.  At some point, I feel the rolls were perhaps a little over the top, or just sounded better on paper then they actually tasted.  Nothing was bad.  But nothing blew me away either.  Salmon and Avocado was the best roll of the night. Smooth, complementary textures, nice flavors.  The Sweet Potato Tempura roll was inventive and tasty, although P found it a little greasy.  The California King roll, which subbed king crab for traditional crab stick, was a bit flavorless and left me disappointed.  I thought it would be better then a regular california roll.  The Tuna Hako, which is pressed in a bamboo box, was disappointing.  The center ingredients got lost, although the tuna on top was good.  However at nearly $20 for 8 pieces, it definitely wasn't worth it. 

Raw is a solid sushi restaurant.   If they scaled back a bit and focused on amazing, simple food, I think they could be much better. They have a lot of things going for them, including a good design aesthetic, awareness of quality ingredients ( i.e. they use fresh-grated wasabi) and are not afraid to take culinary risks. They have an attentive staff and a beautiful restaurant. Their recently opened courtyard is charming (in a zen sort of way).  Hit it for lunch while the weather is still nice and take advantage of the bargain. 

1225 Raw Sushi & Sake Lounge on Urbanspoon


lemon_tart said...

Yum, I heart sushi.

Julia said...

Great review! I would like to add the sink in the bathroom was really cool, Lauren could describe it better than I could.

Carla said...

I love sushi! I wish they had a sushi bar in Slippery Rock.