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
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
“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 Saketini.
“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
“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.”