● By Style
Photography by Dante Fontana, © Style Media Group
Sushi buffets can make many diners skeptical;
after all, if there’s one type of food that should be fresh, it’s fish. Raku Sushi is all you can eat (AYCE), but instead of their rolls sitting under bright buffet lights for hours, all items are made to order.
In fact, the entire stigma of buffets is absent here: It feels more like a sit-down restaurant than a pay one price, shovel-as-much-food-as-you-can establishment where quantity trumps quality. The dinner menu ($19.95) offers more variety than lunch ($12.95), but both will fill your belly to the brim.
A recent bout of extreme hunger led my plus one and me through Raku’s doors for dinner, where we were quickly seated and brought water on the rocks. First impressions were impressive: clean, modern décor and a well-lit, open dining room with two large flat-screen TVs.
The AYCE concept can be slightly overwhelming at first (really, we can order everything on the menu and still pay one price?), but as the saying goes, “Slow but steady wins the race.” First, we shared an order of gyoza and mixed tempura and made a quick trip to the salad bar in the restaurant’s rear, where we found edamame, seaweed salad, kimchi cucumbers, and other herbivore delights.
After consuming a hefty amount of rolls (most come with four to five pieces) and maki (hand rolls; only available at dinnertime), my confidant and I both agreed that the 49ers roll, which marries shrimp tempura, avocado, thinly sliced lemon, and salmon together in holy matrimony, was a taste-bud touchdown. The Howie roll’s crispy, sauce-laden exterior and cream cheese, spicy tuna-filled interior was also a palate pleaser and would be a wise choice for “newshies,” sushi-eating rookies.
Preferring my sushi in the raw, I ordered my fair share of nigiri. The sake’s (salmon) rich, buttery taste was especially toothsome. I would return to Raku and solely order this.
Full but feeling piggy (hey, we wanted to get our money’s worth), it was time for dessert: donuts and fried ice cream. Suddenly the whole “eyes are bigger than your stomach” idiom made perfect sense.
Although not a lot of pomp and circumstance in their rolls or service, Raku’s concept and value are a swimming success—(quoting Arnold) “I’ll be back.”
Raku Sushi, 6726 Stanford Ranch Road, Suite 7, Roseville, 916-786-2800, rakurestaurant.com.
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