Cheap Eats 2007: Raku
Comments () | Published July 13, 2007

Raku Bethesda
Address: 7240 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda, MD 20814
Phone: 301-718-8680
Neighborhood: Bethesda/Glen Echo
Cuisines: Sushi, Pan-Asian, Japanese, Chinese
Opening Hours: Open for lunch Monday through Friday 11:30 to 2:30, Saturday and Sunday noon to 3. Open for dinner Sunday through Thursday 5 to 10, Friday and Saturday 5 to 10:30.
Nearby Metro Stops: Bethesda
Price Range: Moderate
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Recommended
Price Details: Entrees, $16.50 to $25.

Oversize lanterns and paper parasols swing from the rafters; chopsticks big enough to joust with jut out from the walls. The atmosphere at this cafe is so animated, it sometimes feels like a giant rec room.

The place also knows how to please. A mostly Japanese fusion menu is focused enough to keep the raw-fish purists from grumbling, yet even sushiphobes will find something to like.

Plates like tuna tartare, Thai-curry bouillabaisse, and strip steak with Szechuan spice are dependably delicious, while newer takes like smoky wok-charred Chilean sea bass, paper-thin slices of buttery yellowtail with sesame-wasabi ponzu, and a salad of cilantro and onion prove that the kitchen hasn’t grown lazy.

Want sushi? Go for the rolls. Combos like the Raku with eel, egg, avocado, and cucumber, the kimchee-spiked Seoul Train roll, and a marvelous salmon roe and quail egg combo are as tasty as they are festive. Just like Raku.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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Posted at 11:19 AM/ET, 07/13/2007 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews