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Raw appeal

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Sushi is the Long Island iced tea of foods: It just disappears. All I remember is something that tasted amazing, an empty plate and saying, “More sushi, please!” That instant amnesia always ends with me about to pass out from being fish-drunk, wondering why I’m so full when I only had a roll or two, or five. Or 14.

Lately, I’ve been getting fish-drunk at In the Raw in Bricktown. I might have a fish problem. Anybody up for a fishervention?

Look, it’s hard to say no when you’re handed that menu. Even things that sound awful turn out to be great, like the
ahi tuna nachos ($15). In the wrong hands, this would just be a pile of
chips with raw tuna on top.

Instead, these are thoughtfully crafted little taste bombs with flavor shrapnel galore. Rather than tortilla chips, In the Raw uses fried wonton wrappers, topped with avocado, mozzarella, seared ahi tuna and a little Sriracha and Japenese mayo on top.

I was less taken with the fried pork gyoza ($7 for six). The flavor was OK, but the texture of the meat was a little too rubbery. Similarly, the miso soup ($2.50) seemed to lack punch, although I appreciate In the Raw’s new take on the old standby, with plenty of mushrooms in each bowl.

But
gyoza and soup are just appetizers. The main course is the sushi. And
while In the Raw had a rocky beginning, these days it’s bringing quality
service and food.

If
you go at lunch, the menu offers five specialty rolls for $8 each. If
you’re the kind of person who gets a single roll and calls it a day,
that’s a heck of a deal. (If you’re the kind of person who gets three
rolls and a couple orders of nigiri after some tuna nachos,
congratulations on being me.)

It’s
more expensive, but I highly enjoyed the Id Roll ($15), which combines
crab cake, avocado and cream cheese with chopped scallions and seared
tuna.

Traditional? No.

Delicional? Yes.

Simpler
(and cheaper) is the Rock ’n’ Roll ($8.50), which is mostly an eel
delivery system. If you just said “ew” at the thought of eating eel, I’m
going to assume you’ve never had sushi before. Go stand in the corner
and think about what you’ve done.

I
don’t always like fried stuff in my sushi, but the Dunwell Roll ($8.50)
doesn’t go overboard. There’s fried shrimp in the center with strips of
jalapeño and cream cheese, and it tastes so good. The jalapeño isn’t so
much about packing heat as bringing a fresh, grassy flavor and
satisfying crispness.

I
always get mackerel nigiri ($3.50), because I love it. And I love what I
got at In the Raw: a nice cut, fresh, flavorful and light. And try the
saltwater eel nigiri ($5.75) while you’re  at it. Not as sweet as the mackerel, but tender and tasty, nonetheless.

Don’t like sushi?
There’s something wrong with you. But In the Raw is sensitive to your
bizarre sensibilities, offering wraps and rice bowls. The Veggie Wrap
($8.50) is nice, with hummus, asparagus, cucumber, mushrooms, avocado,
tomato and onion all wrapped in a tortilla; I wish the tortilla had been
heated up first, so it would be less liable to break.

The
chicken teriyaki bowl ($10) was pretty good, too, but I’d order it sans
pineapple. If you go with the four-sauce option (add $1), ask for it on
the side, so you can blend it to your tastes.

Bricktown
has great pizza, burgers, steaks, Mexican fare and seafood. And now
that In the Raw has upped its game, the neighborhood can claim top-notch
sushi.

Enjoy the view. Enjoy the service. But most of all, get lots of sushi. Just beware the fish hangover.

Oklahoma
Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive
aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or
service when appropriate.

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