Last night I attended a media tasting dinner at RA Sushi in Harbor East in order to sample the new food and cocktail items on the menu. Put on by the lovely Amy Burke and Bridget Forney of Profiles PR, the event was intended to introduce us to the new concepts on the menu, a lot which integrated Japanese and Latin influences, according to RA's executive chef Tai Obata. Also in attendance were Dara Bunjon of Dining Dish, Xani and Erin from Black Coffee and a Donut, Brian Lawrence from Style, freelance writer Martha Thomas, and others.
The dinner was set up like a four-course meal and we sampled new appetizers, sushi rolls, and desserts. Some highlights for me were the RA Chips and Salsa (tuna tartare mixed with cucumber, avocado, and salsa) and the Hot Mess (crispy rice balls topped with spicy king crab mix, baked and finished with jalapeño and cilantro). The new items added an extra kick to the already innovative options at RA.
But, of course, I was also very interested in the new cocktail menu. I started with the refreshing Tea It Up, a mix of sweet tea vodka, green tea liqueur, and lemonade. This deceivingly smooth drink was a great twist on the popular Firefly cocktail. Then I sampled some Tozai Jumai Sake, which had flavors of white grape and anise, and had a cleaner taste than most sakes. My (and others') favorite was the Shiso Naughty, pictured. Despite the silly name , this drink was a perfect balance of pineapple vodka, X-Rated liqueur, the citrus fruit yuku, and the Japanese shiso leaf. This fragrant, moderately sweet cocktail is one to come back for.
RA's new fusion-inspired menu shows that the restaurant isn't afraid to experiment, and the new cocktail options help secure its place in Baltimore's nightlife scene.