Get Your Meatless Monday on at Ra Sushi

It’s been a while since my last post. I’m back in school now and between work and school, I have a lot less time to write. While I haven’t had as much time to write, I’ve still kept up my commitment to No Meat on Monday. The other night, I met a friend for dinner at Ra Sushi. As I mentioned in my last post, it’s a lot easier to stay on a vegetarian diet when you’re cooking for yourself, but when you’re out and about, it becomes much more difficult. As I started to glance at the menu, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many meatless options Ra Sushi had, and good ones at that. I wouldn’t be stuck with a boring salad and an order of french fries, the most common, yet lousy excuses for vegetarian menu items at most restaurants.

I decided Ra Sushi would be the first restaurant I would highlight as a Meatless Monday dining option. Ra Sushi is conveniently located on The Strip on the outdoor promenade of The Fashion Shall Mall, directly across the street from the Wynn. Not only does Ra Sushi have some great meatless menu items, they also have a great Happy Hour, Monday-Saturday 3-7p, with drink and food items starting at $2. Best of all, several of the vegetarian options at Ra Sushi are included on their Happy Hour Menu.

I decided I’d try the Shishito Peppers since they were on the happy hour menu. I’d never heard of Shishito Peppers before I tasted them at Ra Sushi, but now I’m definitely a fan. Shishito Peppers are a Japanese green pepper, smaller than a jalapeno. Unlike a jalapeno, they are more mild in flavor and very thin skinned. The Shishito peppers at Ra Sushi are sauteed in a mix of Asian spices, sesame seeds and what tastes like sesame oil. The sesame adds a nutty, roasted flavor to the Asian spices that the peppers are cooked with.  The plate is garnished with a red sauce that taste like a spicy tomato pure. Shishito peppers are a great starter the whole table can enjoy.

Since I was at a sushi restaurant, I had to order sushi, right? I opted for the vegetable tempura roll. It’s filled with tempura battered fried asparagus and sweet potato, then wrapped in Nori and rice. The roll is topped with tempura battered Japanese eggplant, which has a more delicate flavor than American eggplant. The roll is garnished with colorful tempura flakes, and drizzled with eel sauce. Both the sweet potato and eel sauce add a hint of sweetness while the tempura batter and flakes add a crispy texture to the roll. And if you didn’t already know, Nori (seaweed), is also a great source of protein as well as other vitamins and minerals.

I also tried the Dengaku Tofu. Tofu has been a major source of protein in vegetarian diets in the East for nearly 2000 years. Though many people complain it can be bland, the red miso ginger glazing process used to make Dengaku Tofu at Ra Sushi, adds a savory flavor and caramelized texture to the tofu. The Dengaku Tofu is topped with crispy pieces of Japanese eggplant and snow peas, and served with tempura sauce.

These three veggies options were just the tip of the iceberg at Ra Sushi. Here’s a brief run down of the meatless options on the menu at Ra Sushi. (HH) denotes an item that is included on the Happy Hour menu. The last 2 items on my list, the Nutty Grilled Chicken Salad and the Tuna² Salad, become great Meatless Monday choices if you hold the meat. In addition to having some tasty ingredients, like cilantro and mandarin orange slices, both salads include nuts, which are a great source of protein.

  • Cucumber Kimchee Salad
  • Dengaku Tofu (HH)
  • Edamame (HH)
  • Garlic Sugar Snap Peas (HH)
  • Miso Soup
  • Miso Hot Soup
  • Pineapple Cheese Wonton (HH)
  • Seaweed Salad (HH)
  • Shishito Peppers (HH)
  • Veggie Sushi Roll (HH)
  • Vegetable Tempura Bento Box
  • Vegetable Tempura Roll
  • Nutty Grilled Chicken Salad*
  • Tuna² Salad*
(HH) – denotes an item that is part of the Happy Hour menu
* hold the meat on these and they are great meatless options.

So the next time you’re enjoying a little shopping at Fashion Show Mall, whether it’s Monday or not, head over to Ra Sushi for a tasty meatless meal.

Ra Sushi
3200 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Fashion Show Mall Outdoor Promenade
Las Vegas, NV 89109
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Visit SushiSamba and Support Japan

If you’re in Las Vegas, Miami, Chicago or New York, I encourage you to stop by SushiSamba and support the relief efforts in Japan. The sushi chef in each location has created a special roll, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Red Cross to assist relief efforts in Japan.

The other day after work, I headed over to SushiSamba in the Palazzo to make my contribution. As soon as I sat down at the bar, I was greeted by the pleasant whiff from the fresh mint leaves the bar back was pulling from the stalk of mint in his hands. I was happy to find out I had caught Happy Hour and the $6 Mojitos and Caipirinhas. The guys next to me had ordered seviche, which looked good. I ordered the Yellowtail Seviche based on the bartenders recommendation, and the Chef Yuki’s Japan Disaster Relief Roll.

Chef Yuki’s Disaster Relief Roll is a tuna roll with eel, shiso leaf, kaiware, radish, and kaiso kira kira. The shiso leaf added a slight minty taste to the roll and the kaiware, the green sprouts sticking out of the roll, added a hint of peppery flavor. The plate is decorated in spicy sauce, which takes the heat of the roll up a notch.

Chef Yuki's Japan Disaster Relief Roll, Yellowtail Seviche, and Mojito

As much as I enjoyed the Yellowtail Seviche and Disaster Relief Roll, the pièce de résistance was dessert. Usually when I go to a sushi restaurant, I end my meal with a piece of mochi ice cream, which SushiSamba has and is made in house. But I don’t consider SushiSamba your traditional sushi restaurant, so I decided to switch it up. I opted for something with a little bit more of a Brazilian influence, so I ordered the Cassava Carrot Cake. It was so good that it was gone before I realized I hadn’t taken a picture of it. The carrot cake was moist and spongy. It’s served on a velvety bed of cinnamon cream and is topped with a scoop of brown butter ice cream that has a refreshing sweetness to it. The plate is drizzled with orange reduction that has a nice kick, almost like a liqueur. Each element tasted wonderful individually, but to be truly appreciated, each fork full should include a little bit of each.

The Disaster Relief campaign runs through the end of March. Each roll is $12 and each location has a different roll. You can also support relief efforts in Japan by donating directly to the Red Cross.

SushiSamba
$30-45/person
Inside the Shops at the Palazzo
3327 Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109

More Sushi, Please

I’ve been enjoying sushi since I was about 10, but I’d never heard of the concept of all-you-can-eat sushi before I moved to Las Vegas. Then I stumbled across Oyshi. While there are several all-you-can-eat sushi restaurants in the valley, I have to say that Oyshi is one of my favorites.

For sushi snobs, I would categorize Oyshi falling somewhere in the middle of the sushi spectrum, with the stuff you can pick up at the grocery store on one end, and a place like Bar Masa, that gets fresh fish flown in daily from Tsukiji market in Tokyo, on the other end. But in lieu of dropping $300 per person at Bar Masa, Oyshi has some really great sushi.

Spicy Tuna Crunch Roll and Oyshi Roll

My favorite roll is the Spicy Tuna Crunch roll. It’s made with tuna, jalapeno and cream cheese, then the roll is flash fried in tempura batter. The outside is crunchy and warm, while the cream cheese and tuna stay cool on the inside, helping to abate the flavor explosion from the jalapenos. There isn’t just sushi on the all-you-can-eat menu, items like miso soup, seaweed salad, tempura, and mochi ice cream are included as well. Sashimi however, can only be ordered a la carte.

Sake

While any size group can enjoy Oyshi, it’s a great place to go with a group. They have private party rooms and sharing sushi is always fun, especially when you know everyone’s food bill will be the same. (Sharing is allowed as long as everyone orders all-you-can-eat). I dread getting sushi and when the bill comes, suddenly your friends have amnesia about what they ordered.

To make your experience at Oyshi better, I’ll share some advice. Order a few rolls at a time. Don’t let your eyes be bigger than your stomach because they will try to charge you the a la carte price for anything you don’t eat. Skip the Teriyaki. And make sure you go hungry.

Samuri

Oyshi

$21/lunch, $26/dinner All-you-can-eat

7775 S. Rainbow Blvd.

Las Vegas, NV 89113

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