sushi ra


RA Sushi - Bar - Restaurant

201 Southwest 145th Terrace, Pembroke Pines, FL 33027

(954) 342-5454 -


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By Erik Mathes*


Let’s get one thing straight: RA Sushi - Bar - Restaurant at The Shops at Pembroke Gardens serves superb sushi.   Order any maki roll or your favorite nigiri and you’ll be convinced that these folks know what they’re doing.


The regulars — tuna, salmon, and yellowtail -- at this Scottsdale, AZ-based chain, are fresh and bright; I’m talking melt-in-your-mouth good.  The signature rolls are oceanic masterpieces: spicy lobster rolls with vibrant cilantro and jalapeño, crisp lettuce, clean cucumber, and buttery avocado; tropical rolls with mango, crunchy spinach tempura bits, fiery shrimp and mango salsa; and yellowtail rolls with garlic-citrus ponzu sauce and scallions being prime examples.

But, I’m not here to talk about any of that.

I’m here to discuss the two reasons RA has elevated itself above and beyond the standard SoFla sushi scene: its bar and restaurant.

Start with the décor:  RA is stylish and swanky, with glowing red, orb-shaped lights hanging from the ceiling; matching sanguine seat cushions; bamboo section dividers; and club-like -- a culinary cathouse in the best sense.  The front is lined with an L-shaped, indoor-outdoor bar, and the booth-lined dining room features plenty of four-tops and seating to accommodate larger parties.  And, trust me: you’ll want to bring your buddies here.

The hot kitchen, led by the tandem of executive chef Alejandro Recio and sous chef Scott Young, is as much a reason to head here as the sushi.  For starters, take what these fellas did to transform edamame, the standard, green pod-enclosed soybeans that are typically given a once-over with nothing but coarse sea salt.  Sure, you can order simple edamame prepared in that fashion at RA; but why would you when you could get garlic edamame, tossed in a sauce of melted compound butter made with togarashi pepper (a mix of ground red chili, Szechuan peppercorns, ginger, nori seaweed, dried orange peel, and black and white sesame seeds), seasoned soy sauce, and toasted garlic? Healthy and high in protein, these little suckers will literally have you sucking all that delectable, umami-infused sauce off them, no matter how classy your company may be.

Another RA way to enjoy edamame is to get it in dip form.  Steamed green soybeans are blended with spinach, cream cheese, salt and togarashi, then served warm with fried wonton chips.  Unlike other spinach dips, this one isn’t greasy, so you won’t feel guilty chomping away while guzzling down an icy Sapporo.

If you prefer booze drinks with more flair than beer, you’re in luck at RA; they’ve just added a slew of signature spirits to their menu.  Skinny cocktails, like the breezy Cucumber Collins, are as cool as a...well, you know.  Featuring Effen cucumber vodka, fresh cucumber and lime juice, sugar-free sweetener and soda, this drink still packs a heady punch at under 200 calories.  Its low-cal counterpart, the Kiwi-Berry Kiss, is equally indulgent, albeit guilt-free, consisting of Voli lemon vodka muddled with fresh kiwi, strawberry, citrus, sugar-free sweetener and soda.  And then there are the Miyagi Margaritas with house-made yuzu sour, fresh lime juice, and triple sec in strawberry, mango, cucumber, or traditional yuzu flavor.

Complementing this liquid fusion of Mexican and Japanese ingredients are RA’s five varieties of Asian tacos, each held together by crispy rice shells.  Chilled, shredded, sake-steamed chicken with Asian vegetables; fried whitefish or “RA”ckin shrimp with chef Alejandro’s zesty coleslaw and guacamole; and spicy tuna or salmon with crumbled wasabi rice cracker bits, guac, and lobok, a daikon-like root added for crunch, are the players.  In any event, these savory snacks are perfect victuals for a victorious happy hour (which runs Monday through Saturday from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.).

Pro party people: Forget about the seventh day being meant for rest; at RA, it’s as live as any Friday ever was, with Sunday night's one-of-a-kind late happy hour running from 8:00 p.m. ‘til close Groove out to hot beats, courtesy of RA’s resident DJ, and nosh on dishes like sesame-garlic, chili-ponzu, and black pepper-teriyaki chicken wings; and “Bonfire Shrimp,” lightly fried and tossed in a sweet chili sauce with fried shisito peppers.

When it comes to RA, you might initially go for sushi, but you’ll stay for the hot plates and come back week after week for the creative libations.  Now you know what all the RA-ving is about.



* Erik Mathes is a Personal Chef, In-Home Cooking Instructor,  blogger of  “Rantings of a Chef” at  and  founder of .



ra food6

RA Sushi - Bar - Restaurant

201 Southwest 145th Terrace, Pembroke Pines, FL 33027

(954) 342-5454 -


Open for lunch and dinner Sunday through Wednesday 11am–11pm and Thursday through Saturday till 12am (Kitchen hours; bar stays open later most nights)

                                              Price: $$ out of $$$$ (about $60-$70 for dinner for two including drinks and tip).




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