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The most surprising thing about Raku is that it didn't arrive sooner. How is it that 50th and France, a commercial node noted for its trendy, thick-walleted shoppers, didn't have a sushi bar already? The restaurant is tucked between the movie theater and the Lunds parking lot, with booths along the front windows, next to the sushi bar, and a cocktail counter at the opposite end. The decor-filmy orange curtains and tabletops that look like stony river bottoms-is neither too traditional nor too far-out and the same might be said of the menu, which combines classic Japanese fare with a few playful fusion options. Raku offers all the standard-issue California rolls, hamachi sashimi, and those tasty pork-filled dumplings called gyoza, plus, of course specialty, "new style" maki, including one that arrives to the table with the plate set on fire. Favorite dishes include the Tatsua Age fried chicken, the enormous bowl of Nabe Yaki Udon, and a Asian-Latin crab-topped salmon with wasabi, sake, soy sauce, and guacamole.
Much like the words "bed" and "bug" or "Tim Pawlenty" and "president," the words "tuna" and "pizza" really have no business being placed together, especially at a Japanese restaurant. Raw tuna—the stuff that hasn't been cooked, flaked, and... More »
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