The charm of Japan comes alive at Raku. The restaurant serves traditional Japanese cuisine with a modern touch. Everything about the place radiates a modern understated elegance like the gallery of a fine art museum. The always attentive and well informed staff help to make every meal a real Japanese experience.
A Light Japanese Lunch
The lunch menu is a real value because many choices have three different courses included in the price. A multi-course lunch might sound heavy, but Raku prepares dishes with a light hand that favors vegetables, select fish and other healthy food options.
Japanese Dinner Options For All
The more extensive dinner menu features appetizers, soups, salads, special hot dishes, special cold dishes, sushi rolls, signature entrees and even ice cream desserts if you have any room left. With so many good choices, deciding what to order is not easy here. Many dishes come with an option for a choice of protein, which varies but might include anything from salmon, chicken, scallops, beef, shrimp or tofu. Another choice is to pick white rice or brown as an accompaniment.
Entrees take center stage and sushi combinations proliferate here by the dozen and then some. Raku has a reputation for serving some of the best sushi in the Twin Cities. Sushi is an art form here. The perfectly layered and rolled sushi bites expertly positioned on gleaming white China could almost be framed, but it is more fun to eat them. By all means, use chopsticks if you can.
A dab of wasabi or peeled ginger will do with sushi. Both condiments have a zingy tongue-tingling zip that enhances the stacks of flavors neatly rolled into each sushi bite. Go very light on the wasabi paste and mix with soy sauce to see how much heat is a good accent. When it comes to sushi, a little wasabi goes a long way.
Even the most finicky fish eater cannot help but to be impressed with the vast selection of sushi combinations available. The expert staff can help decide what is best for you.
Raku has much more to offer than a sea of sushi. The crab cakes look as picture perfect as they taste. A light breading lets the fresh-from-the-sea crab taste stand out with a pleasant lightness that is not at all greasy.
Another non-sushi item — the Udon noodle bowl — has a fragrant broth in the steams like a wood-fired caldron. The soccer ball-sized bowl is filled to the brim with a harmonious melody of perfectly cooked Udon noodles, meaty mushroom slices, thinly slices Napa cabbage and chunks of fresh tofu — all topped with slivers of seaweed.
All meals begin with a warm water-softened towel wrapped in a tidy roll. The presentation comes off with the precision of a formal military drill but the service is always graceful with everything, right down to the hand towels.
The tranquil atmosphere almost makes you want to whisper at the table to keep conversation levels low. But the food is worth shouting about and in a very good way. A meal at the 50th & France Raku is almost like being in Japan. If you have not been to Raku yet, the restaurant is well worth a try. Be sure to come hungry and ready for a culinary world adventure.
Two Twin City Raku Restaurants
Raku now has two locations, the original 50th & France Raku restaurant at 3939 W. 50th St. #101, Edina, MN, 55424, (952)358-2588 and the new Raku Sushi & Lounge in the West End at 5371 W. 16th St., Saint Louis Park, MN, 55416, (952) 378-1803.