The best way to survive the dog days of summer is to find something a little bit sweet with a little bit of heat. RA Sushi in Leawood’s Park Place has got you covered with a new seasonal menu that debuts today.
“This is really great summer fare,” Eric Abney, RA Sushi’s general manager, says. “We’re not going to sit you down and feed you mashed potatoes until you bust. These are perfect for hot weather, refreshing and light.”
RA’s Happy Hour is a big part of the success of the Leawood location, one of 27 RA Sushi restaurants. Happy Hour at Park Place runs Monday through Saturday from 3 to 7 p.m. (and 10 p.m. to midnight), as well as 3 p.m. to close on Sundays. It’s then that you’ll often see the Viva Las Vegas Roll – a wild roll that marries cream cheese, crab sticks inside of a rice roll on a sweet eel soy sauce – leave the kitchen. The whole thing is lightly tempura battered and fried, and then topped with crab, spicy tuna mix and sliced lotus root. The long white plates with the colorful rounds can often be found next to the Blushing Geisha – a pink cocktail made with Skyy raspberry vodka, Chambord liqueur and lemonade.
“We call ourselves a rock and roll sushi bar because we’re not that quiet, uptight place,” Abney says. “We’re always looking for innovative and seasonal cocktails.”
But the Viva Las Vegas Roll and Blushing Geisha are about to get some new competition for the long black bar that runs down the side of the front dining room at RA Sushi. The Recommended Daily sat down with Abney to get a sneak peek at the new menu that incorporates plenty of fresh fruit and well-placed spicy accents to play off that sweetness, which will run through the end of October.
“Everybody wants watermelon in August,” Abney says. “It’s very refreshing.”
The Watermelon Blueberry Martini is his pick for what will be the breakout cocktail this month. It’s got Smirnoff Blueberry Vodka, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, and muddled fresh mint and watermelon. The drink comes standard with a sugared rim, but Abney recommends you swap in salt.
“There’s a really good contrast between the melon and salt,” Abney says.
The light pink cocktail, garnished with a pair of fresh watermelon cubes, is just part of the rainbow that’s now available. Abney points to RA’s twist on a mojito. The foundation is standard — Bacardi rum, mint, soda water and sugar – but then RA offers mango and strawberry versions with fruit purees. And there’s the Grape Crush – a drink that will pique the interest of wine lovers. It’s a combination of Skyy Infusions Moscato Grape Vodka, sour mix, muddled seedless grapes and a merlot float. Abney likens the drink to a “citrusy Sangria.”
The new cocktail menu also incorporates some tropical elements with a Coconut Sakerita.
“It’s a margarita that starts with Sauza silver, lime and house made lemon sour,” Abney says. “Then we add in coconut Nigori sake. The coconut is not too strong, but it’s definitely there. It’s really nice.”
The drink blends an ounce and a half of sake with an ounce of tequila and arrives with a garnish of lime and coconut.“This is the kind of drink that we like to do, a neo-Japanese twist to classic things,” Abney says. “We add a bit of Japanese flair to drinks you’re comfortable with.”
That bit of flair extends to two dishes on the seasonal menu: a Tuna Guacamole Roll and a Strawberry Lobster Roll.
The Tuna Guacamole Roll starts with a piece of slightly seared tuna (think pink) that is served chilled with guacamole that has been blended with an edamame cream cheese (a blend of shelled edamame peas, mushrooms, scallions and cream cheese). The two (along with a jalapeno ring) rest on a little fried rice ball and a splash of black pepper soy sauce.
“It’s rich and that black pepper soy sauce on bottom is lovely,” Abney says.
He could see diners pairing the tuna guacamole roll with the coconut saketini, while the strawberry lobster roll is the kind of dish that will have the dining room saying, “what’s that?”
The eye-popping strawberry lobster roll is made with a pastel pink soy paper that’s filled with sushi rice, cucumber and lobster. It’s topped with spicy mayo (Sriracha and mayo) and a slice of strawberry. There’s a kiwi wasabi sauce on the plate for those that want a touch more heat.
“You get this balance, where you have the sweet strawberry and a little bit of spicy mayo,” Abney says. “It’s a light summery roll that’s actually pretty mild – it would make a great snack during happy hour.”
Find Your Flavor is a series of sponsored posts on The Recommended Daily. Over the course of the next year, we’ll explore the menus, cuisine and folks behind dishes at the restaurants in Leawood’s Park Place. We talked food loves with 801 Chophouse’s chef Jeremy Kalcic, visited chef Leo Santana’s scratch kitchen at Carma, looked at how Gordon Biersch pairs food and brews, saw how Pickleman’s is reinventing the sandwich shop, learned about t. Loft’s evolution into a health cafe, discovered cake made daily at Cupcake a la Mode, created a pairing guide for the case at Paciugo, delved into the raw bar at 801 Fish and found out just how far BurgerFi will go to make a better burger.