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Raku Sushi & Lounge

The stated mission of Raku Sushi & Lounge (in Edina and in St. Louis Park’s ever-growing West End) is to blend “traditional Japanese fare with Italian, French, and other Asian influences.” Yet evidence of those culinary styles is often in name only, and the most successful food at Raku is, in fact, the straightforward, traditional Japanese stuff: Textbook tempura, a light and lovely take on nabe yaki udon (a noodle soup with chicken, egg, vegetables, and savory broth), and an impressive range of sushi and sashimi. Where it fumbled was with the more overwrought fusion dishes, like tuna pizza, a gelatinous lobster bisque, and the heavy-handed duck spring roll. The zensai is a gorgeous variety of Japanese pickles and some diced cold tofu with a delicate sesame sauce. Some non-sushi items are worth trying, such as the crispy dried beef and the grilled Chilean sea bass, served with thick udon noodles and a bonito broth. As for sushi, Raku does a pretty ingenious roll called the Naruto, made with crab, tuna, salmon, yellowtail, avocado, and caviar wrapped in thinly sliced cucumber, and the White Russian roll, with tempura sweet potato, white tuna, and black caviar, was excellent. The red-and-yellow, neon-lit bar is a stylish place for happy hour.

Cuisine

Japanese, Sushi