Over the break, I went to Raw Bar with two lovely ladies, Linda and Chelsea. I think Raw Bar has to be my favorite restaurant. It’s a family-run operation with the dad, Jun, as the sushi chef and owner. The mom works in the back and the daughter waits tables. I don’t think they have anyone else, sometimes they’ll have one more person during busy hours but they usually don’t have more than 5 tables at a time so its very manageable with 3 people. The service can be a little slow but I don’t mind. You can sit at the bar in addition to 5 booths that seat 4 people comfortably and then 2 larger tables. It’s also got a hibachi grill for teppanyaki. I remember 2 years ago when he installed the teppanyaki grill, he asked me if I had any friends who would be interested in the job and that he had someone who would train you. If only I went to college in Sarasota, I’d work there just for free food. The family is Korean so they also have a Korean menu. So in once place, you can get awesome sushi, great Korean food, AND teppanyaki. A lot of restaurants would be lucky to do one thing well, but this place does it all. The funny thing is Jun used to be an engineer in Korea and before he made sushi, he was making bagels in the restaurant. I’m surprised the place isn’t more popular. The booths take up only 1/4 of the room and there is a lot of wasted space on the floor. They could easily double the business and would only need to bring in one more chef and waiter.
We started off with a tempura shrimp entree. The tempura sauce is yummy as always, it’s a mixture of dashi stock, soy sauce, and mirin. I always order the tempura when I go to Raw Bar. It’s simply the best tempura I’ve had so far.
The tempura shrimp is so flaky and crunchy. It doesn’t get any better than this. I don’t even know how to get the coating like this. I’ve scoured the internet for a recipe but haven’t found one yet.
The first plate to come out had the (from top to bottom) spicy tuna roll, mexican roll, and eel special roll. I’m not sure how the mexican roll came about. How is the combination of tempura shrimp, mayo, and avocado remotely Mexican? But who cares, it’s my favorite roll and I’m thankful for whoever came up with it. The eel special is an eel roll topped off with tuna and eel. I like the balance with this platter because there’s a spicy roll, a mild roll, and a sweet roll.
This one’s got the crispy roll and the Jun roll. I normally don’t like cream cheese in sushi but the crispy roll was good. The cream cheese added a sweetness to the roll without overpowering the rest of the ingredients. The Jun roll was served with Ponzu sauce, but the sauce wasn’t very tart or citrus-y like it should be. I’ve tried most of the specialty rolls from Raw Bar, and they are all very good and unique. Even if you don’t like sushi there is so many varieties with traditional Japanese entrees, classic Korean dishes, and teppanyaki. Even the most picky eaters would leave Raw Bar feeling content.
Everything was delicious and I left very satisfied. The food is always consistent but service can be bad during dinner hours because they only have one waiter. As full as we were, we still had room for ice cream at Coldstone after. Stupid Coldstone. I had an embarrassing experience there that no one else needs to know.