A group of my co-workers went to try the newest kid in the Liberty Village block which was a stylish Japanese restaurant called Raaw. The interior of the restaurant is slicked black with hanging light bulb chandeliers from their ceiling. It's a very minimalist styled restaurant where you feel very zen when you walked in.
We were there to celebrate our colleague Stephanie's birthday and also to sample their delicious Japanese spread.
I would have to say the presentation of their dishes are amazing - with modern shaped plates and bowls to martini glasses with florescent ice cubes in them - we were impressed with that.
At Raaw- they make all their sauces and dressing from scratch using only things like grapeseed and avacado oil which is why they are a little more on the pricy side as this is a labour of love from their chef's hands.
We all sample different things: from a huge plate of their chicken udon- glutenous rice noodles mixed with an assortment of chicken and veggies to a beef teriyaki bento box lunch to sampling maki rolls. Angela the gracious owner of Raaw, patiently answered all our probing questions about the menu and suggested a few dishes for us to try.
Their signature "Very Raaw" roll is 8 pieces of all types of fish including tuna, salmon, yellowtail all rolled together in a colourful maki with avocado, tempura bits and spicy sauce. It's quite a large roll so Angela said that would satisfy someone looking for a quick lunch.
I was very impressed by their "Banzai" roll which came in an illuminated martini glass and was a roll wrapped in cucumber with eel, salmon, tuna, avocado and tempura bits with 2 delicious spicy sauces on the side of the plate.
My favourite thing that we ordered would be the spicy tartar which i highly recommend! We had 2 layers of tuna and salmon sandwiched between temporu bits and sushi rice and paired with spicy sauces- it was soo good that this would be a staple for me every time I eat here and I will come back!
A common theme in restaurants at Liberty village is the wait times and service so we were very pleased when our lunches came out in a timely fashion again.
For dessert we were treated to fried green tea ice cream with a fruity mixture at the bottom of the martini glass - it was delicious and such a surprise for the birthday gal.
Before we left- Angela brought over another martini glass topped with seared mackeral perfectly rare over a bed of ice cubes and in what i would describe as a ceasar cocktail. She explained that we should eat the mackeral and then wait for the ice to melt and drink the cocktail afterwards= an 'eat drink' dish. The mackeral was a bit fishy which made the drink for my colleagues less appetizing- i understand the idea as the traditional caesar is made with clam juice. We decided to name this drink "Tabe Nomi" which means eat drink in Japanese literally. I think it has potential to be a successful dish for those that have more of an open mind and palette as it definitely wasn't a favourite at our table.
Regardless I am thrilled to have another Japanese restaurant open in the area and look forward to sampling more dishes. Oishi = delicious in Japanese!
Raaw Japanese Cuisine 171 East Liberty Street (King and Shaw)