Steals on meals: Tempe's RA Sushi Bar

Each week reporter Tanner Stechnij explores some of the affordable options for local eateries around campus so that even college students can feel luxurious.

I grew up in a family with a sushi stigma. Despite my parents' pedestrian tastes, I was always someone who would try — and usually like — anything. I tried sushi for the first time my senior year of high school and haven’t turned back. Ever since, I have been consuming so much sushi that I have to make a concerted effort to not eat more than six servings of mercury-high foods per week — I’m in constant fear of mercury poisoning.

Many non-sushi connoisseurs have this idea that sushi is only offered for outrageous prices, and that isn’t true, especially at the RA Sushi Bar and it is especially not true at the restaurant during its happy hour. 

RA boasts a happy hour that features appetizers and sushi rolls from $3.99 to $8.99. The deals are available Monday through Saturday from 3 to 7 p.m. and again from 10 p.m. to close. On Sunday, the deals are available from 3 p.m. to close.

I dine at RA so frequently that I have enjoyed many of the items on the happy hour menu, but I think that sushi snobs and sushi students can agree on the “Viva Las Vegas Roll.” The roll is crab and cream cheese which is rolled in rice, then rolled in seaweed and then fried with a light tempura batter. 

RA doesn’t stop there — next, they top it with spicy tuna, crab mix and a sliced lotus root, then dress it with sweet eel sauce and garnish it with tempura bits. Not only palatable to most foes of fish, the “Viva Las Vegas Roll” is filling.

The sushi bar’s aesthetic features deep red hues, sleek black counters and natural stone walls. Dozens of red and white orb lights hang from the ceiling and add an aura of mystery. The atmosphere is perfect for any occasion — it's romantic, flirty and adventurous.

As far as the rest of the food, I haven’t tried something that hasn’t left me satisfied. Appetizer-wise, it is nearly impossible to have a meal of sushi without an order of edamame. RA’s pork gyoza are perfect for the timid eater who wants a familiar taste and a little bit of a crunch.

RA also has its own unique take on bar foods like wings, ribs and tacos. The “RA Chips & Salsa” are wholly original featuring a spicy tuna tartare combined with cucumbers, avocado and fresh salsa, served with wonton chips.

The last time I visited RA with a couple of friends we ordered the edamame, “Ra Chips & Salsa,” a rainbow roll and, of course, the “Viva Las Vegas Roll.” We (just barely) cleaned our plates, split the check three ways and each only spent around $10. 

Some final advice: Try visiting toward the beginning of the reverse happy hour on a quiet weeknight. You never know who you will run into — maybe you'll get lucky, like me, and run into some players from the Arizona Cardinals. 

Get your fix at 411 S. Mill Ave., Tempe. 

Related Links:

Steals on meals: Tempe's La Bocca

Steals on meals: Tempe's House of Tricks

Reach the reporter at or follow @tannerstechnij on Twitter.

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