It has been years since I first visited Raisu, and seeing as today we were in the area looking for dinner, and I was craving quality seafood and a little indulgence; they made for the perfect spot. Not to mention my guest had never been before, and I wanted to introduce him to one of the hot spots I like to recommend for Japanese cuisine, served with stunning presentation in mind.
The restaurant is just as I remembered it. Ducking down to avoid the cloth covered entry way, you climb up steep stairs to the top, where a curio of nostalgic Japanese games and figurines greet you. Without reservations, we were out of luck with the patio, so took the only available seats at the bar. Just as well, as I appreciate the bottle-lined island bar that centres the room just as much.
We started off by sharing a refreshing bottle of Japanese beer and followed it with another. Both were light and easy drinking, and well complimented the mild nature of the raw seafood we would accompany with it.
We started with their Uni shooter. A large shot glass of fresh uni, ikura, mountain potato, quail egg, and dashi ponzu truffle jelly. You stir everything up and together to enjoy the mass of mash like a chilled stew of sorts. It is just different. So fresh with so many flavours and textures: from runny egg to juicy roe, and pulpy daikon in between. Hard to describe, easy to enjoy, best to try for yourself.
On that same vein of texture and unique taste is the Takowasabi. This was a complimentary serving of raw diced up octopus seasoned in wasabi, and enjoyed with seaweed sheets; like a one bite taco of sorts. The octopus lends a saucy rubbery quality to the dry and crisp seaweed. And the whole of the dish is made pungent with heat thanks to the wasabi. This is a great one to jump start your appetite and meal with.
And it only got better with our order of the seasonal Deluxe seafood bowl featuring Otoro. “Otoro” is super fatty blue fin tuna that is highly revered and exalted by fans, and each time I took a bite, I could further see why. The price is a little steep at $58, but honestly I found it worth it for the quality and flavour I was getting from these perfect slices of fresh, fatty fish. It is the star of this unique sushi rice assembly, but it also includes the following for some much need variety between bites. I found that starting with the tuna, then breaking with the crab meat, scallop, egg, spot prawn, ikura, or sea urchin only made it better when I went back for more tuna. Only available for a limited time, I cannot recommend coming down for some sooner than later. And bonus it comes with an order of miso that also served as a great palette refresher.
In conclusion, my latest visit to Raisu did not disappoint. It only makes me like and want to recommend them more. Great to see that quality and service has not dipped for them, despite the times we live in.
2340 W 4th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6K 1P1