New to the tourist-driven-yet-locally-embraced enclave of I-Drive’s Pointe Orlando, RA Sushi’s newest Orlando outpost has nestled into one of the venue’s comeliest corners amid neighbors The Pub Orlando, Cuba Libre (with its artful overhead mural) and the Minus5 Ice Bar.
Pointe Orlando is the fourth Florida location for this chain, which has restaurants in several other states. Old Town Scottsdale, which opened in 1997, was the first. The chain's name is pronounced like Ra - the Egyptian sun god – not spoken as initials; don’t let the capital-letter presentation throw you off.
RA Sushi is set amid the ponds and fountains of Pointe Orlando — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson
A lush, beautifully landscaped pond – replete with lily pads and tadpoles– offers a relaxing gateway into the sleek, black-and-red space. Candles, floating orbs, artful bare branches usher in calm. Music – an ‘80s mash-up on our visit – keeps the vibe lively. An expansive covered patio out front should work to satisfy people-watchers, particularly on convention-heavy nights when Pointe Orlando is thick with attendee infiltration from the nearby Orlando County Convention Center.
RA offers a selection of signature rolls, the most popular being their Viva Las Vegas ($13.60), a crab-and cream cheese concoction that’s rolled in seaweed and tempura-fried. Topped with a crab mixture and a shower of eel sauce, it’s capped artfully with a sliced lotus root.
The Viva Las Vegas Roll — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson
Many offerings have one or another fried element, and those sauces can be caloric! Scan carefully if you’re looking for lighter fare. Safe to say, the nigiri and sashimi could be helpful in this regard. Paired with a lighter soup or salad, or perhaps cucumber kimchee, those less enthused by rich drizzles may find diet-friendly refuge.
Artful plating, colorful fare — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson
Lunch specials, served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., feature an array of Bento boxes, sushi assortments and bowls including spicy tuna, teriyaki and chirashi – all of which come with miso soup. Asian tacos (chicken, spicy salmon, crispy white fish and more) showcase the further adoption of street food culture into the more formal culinary setting.
RA Sushi offers a selection of nigiri and sashimi for those less lured by quirky rolls — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson
One interesting selection is the Pacific Roll ($9.95) - a mix of albacore, cilantro, jalapeño and cucumber that's topped with fresh avocado and mango salsa. It’s an attractive plate, finished with pulverized bits of tempura red beet and sautéed cashews. Sweet mango and pungent onion meld with acidic tones in the salsa, creating a ceviche-like flavor effect in combination with the fish and cilantro.
RA’s happy hour (Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.) is an excellent time to test their waters. The aforementioned Viva Las Vegas roll enjoys a deep discount, clocking in at just $8.79. Calamari or shrimp tempura rolls go for $6.79. Some items run as low as $3.29. Pop in and sample spicy tuna alongside a saketini.