Raku: a chopsticks only restaurant

Maddie Hibbs, staff writer

Among the many restaurants and boutiques lining 50th and France, a dimly lit restaurant hides in the side of a small building––Raku. Black doors lead straight into a realm of modern Japanese architecture, and the overwhelmingly sophisticated environment turns Raku into a Edina hot spot.

Flashy service and quick orders make Raku a 35-minute meal experience, leaving time to talk and enjoy a cup of hot tea. Raku offers a five-page menu of sushi, soups, and noodles of your choice, starting from the most simply put together foods––hand rolls and basic sushi––to elaborate chicken meals.

Ranging from bland flavors––cucumber and avocado rolls–– to complicated fusions of Japanese spices. Raku offers over 40 different kinds of sushi and hand rolls, and serves dishes such as the sunkiss, a combination of broiled eel and shrimp tempura, and avocado inside, all topped with with mango and crunchy savory flakes. This dish brings colorful flavors of fruit, fish and the salty taste of seaweed wrapped around a blend of brown and white rice.

Raku incorporates French, Italian, and other Asian dishes into their main courses giving an international twist to this primarily Japanese restaurant. The restaurant speaks of mostly Japanese influences––wasabi, soy sauce and other sauces and spices––with a subtle hint of Italian and French infused in the various spices of the food.

Although Raku has different cultural influences, each table is complete with a set of chop sticks––no silverware available––and a small fish-shaped plate in which to pour soy sauce to dip the delectable sushi for optimal flavor.

Raku’s modern-day environment and seats that have tall cushions give off a club-like ambiance. A brightly-lit bar vividly shows various hues splashing onto the top of the ceiling. The booths line the windows of the restaurant and look out onto the street for a perfect people-watching point, but the interior seating arrangements are too close together; often waiters with their saki-filled cups or plates of sushi have a hard time maneuvering around the restaurant.

Raku provides great food, but has prices that no high-school student could afford. The most expensive item on the menu costs $60 for a seafood party. Individual rolls start at $4.50 and can end up being $16, plus an added $1 for brown rice. Because of this, Raku becomes a great place for family fun and mooching off parents for delectable, tasty meals.