Editors' pick

Raku

Japanese, Sushi
$$$$ ($15-$24)
Raku photo
Megan Rossman/The Post
'

Editorial Review

2007 Fall Dining Guide
By Tom Sietsema
Washington Post Magazine
Sunday, Oct. 14, 2007

If there's a Bethesda restaurant I'd like to see cloned, it's Raku. No matter what kind of day you've had, the servers will make you feel better, and the room -- warm with bamboo, cozy with booths and colorful with parasols suspended from the ceiling -- elicits instant gratification, too. The pan-Asian menu is long and varied, the experience as enticing for families as for first dates. Some tastes are great: Wok-singed sea bass is gussied up with a frizz of fried carrot, crisp broccolini and a lovely tomato sauce teased with ginger. Some dishes are best for their parts: Chicken alone doesn't have a lot of savor, but sauteed egg noodles and a lemony basil sauce lend the entree some spark. And if mackerel, apple and ginger rolled up in rice sounds bizarre, the dish called "What a Match!" will convince you otherwise. Yep, the setting is loud, but I'll put up with some clatter when there are fragile, seafood-filled spring rolls among the specials and delicate dumplings floating in a clear broth elevated with shiitakes, spinach and cilantro.