We joined two of our favorite compatriots, Ronnie and Jeff, for our latest sushi excursion. This would be the holiday version; sandwiched between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and there was much to celebrate.
We gathered first at their abode, which was charmingly decorated for Christmas in grand pop-culture fashion. There was an awesome scene from the classic Rudolph holiday special and the Christmas tree featured many retro-sweet touches; including a Scooby-Doo tree-topper. Ronnie mixed us one of his sneak-attack cocktails; a seemingly cheery peppermint-chocolate martini concoction that embedded a stealth buzz that crept up later at an inappropriate time...like say, when arriving at the sushi restaurant. Thank God Jeff was our non-drinking designated driver...it only takes one of Ronnie's evil elixirs to weave its spell.
To the sushi restaurant we did indeed go, and that restaurant was one Ra Sushi in Leawood, KS. Ra Sushi is located in upscale shopping mecca Park Place. Ra's a sleek, sexy spot next to the Aloft Hotel. Once through the doors and past the warm glow of the morphing colors of the sushi bar backdrop, we were seated at our table. We admired the crimson light fixtures that seemed to float above the Flying Fish Lounge while we perused the lengthy menu. We ordered martinis and appetizers: pineapple-cheese wontons and an item we would have ordered on name alone: the Hot Mess. This deliciously-named starter was delicious indeed: spicy rice balls topped with a King crab mix that is baked and finished with jalapeno and cilantro. We toasted to our excitement over upcoming events and to our good fortune....its 5:30 pm.
Our sushi arrived to great fanfare; plate after plate of creative goodness. Salmon and sweet onion tapas. The Ra-ckin' Roll; kani kama crab and cream cheese rolled in rice and seaweed, lightly tempura battered and topped with guacamole and shrimp; finished with a creamy ginger sauce, red beet tempura beets and togarashi. My personal favorite...the Viva Las Vegas Roll: crab and cream cheese topped with spicy tuna and sliced lotus root; finished with sweet eel sauce and spinach tempura bits. We sat back; sated and buzzed, taking in this ever-busier joint as we paid our bill and headed out into the night....its 6:15 pm.
We entered the tres cool Aloft Hotel which is in the design-friendly family of W Hotels. We took the elevator up to the ultra-hip lobby area; complete with billiard tables, neon-lit XYZ bar and gorgeously modern living room-lounge area. We ordered an orange martini and strolled the chilly deck that featured fabulous outdoor furniture and perfect views of the ice rink and holiday-lit shopping center. We returned to the lounge and laughed heartily over our cocktails. Ooh, we felt so achingly hip....so, I ask...
Say barkeep, where's the rest of the crowd? Don't they know, as we hipsters do, about this wonderful place? His answer:
Uh, well, its 7:00. Nothing really gets going until say, 9:00 p.m.
Okay, I really wasn't that pretentious when I asked about why it wasn't busy. Thankfully, he didn't finish his answer with "you sad, deluded and seemingly flatulent old man". I did, however, look at my orange martini and wonder if he didn't mix it with Metamucil.
Finally, we strolled over to watch the ice skaters and saunter into Paciugo Gelato where we reveled in flavors like salted nut caramel and chocolate Guinness. Ronnie tried a rose milk flavor which he commented "tasted like Grandma" which elicited giggles from the staff.
Who are we kidding? Its clearly only a short time before we are slapping on the rose milk after-shave ourselves. We took our satisfied but tired behinds to the car and headed home. Ronnie mentioned on the drive home that it seems like we should be headed to a club.....at least, I think that's what he said before he started nodding off. Once home, I thought back on this great night and smiled. I went to bed, still smiling.
It was 8:00 p.m.