16 May 2011

The Best Lunch Deal in Edina: Raku

I have to admit that sometimes when you discover a fantastic restaurant deal, you worry that when the word gets out, the crowds will come and spoil it. In this case, however, I’m worried that if more people don’t find out about the fantastic lunch deal at Raku, the restaurant won’t be able to survive and we’ll all lose out.

My wife and I have been to Raku before for dinner.(Click here for that review.) It was on a Saturday night. We liked the décor, the ambiance, the bar, and the food. But the service wasn’t so great, and that kind of spoiled it for us. Still, we looked at the lunch menu, and it looked so promising, we decided we would give it a try.

When we showed up a little before noon on a Monday, there were only three other tables being served. Our server greeted us and gave us our menus. Raku offers three lunch specials. The main lunch special is $16. You get a soup or a salad, and appetizer (like a sushi roll or egg roll), and an entrée. My wife was pretty sure that’s what she wanted when I pointed out the bento box special – $10. She’s not a big eater, so that sounded good to her.RakuLunch2

To start, before the bento box even arrived, she was served a cup of soup and a small salad. When the server brought the bento box, we both looked at and said, “This can’t be only $10!” He assured us that it was. The menu says that the box comes with a California roll and three pieces of ‘shumai.’ We didn’t know what shumai was, so we assumed it was the entrée portion of the box. Well, the shumai were three little shrimp dumplings, comparable to dim sum. So in addition to that, there was an ample serving of the entrée; my wife chose shrimp tempura. Besides the shrimp, there were tender pieces of vegetables, including broccoli, sweet potato, squash, and zucchini. (Take a look at the photo. You’ll see what I mean.)

I was tempted by the bento. But I had to go for the sushi special, three rolls for $12. I also received a cup of soup to start. The menu gives the diner a choice of more than a dozen different rolls. I opted for a yellowtail roll, a spicy crunchy salmon roll, and an eel cucumber roll. I loved them all. RakuLunch1

No problem this time with disappointing service. Our server was friendly without being overly familiar. Attentive without hovering. He was knowledgeable and gave us good advice. Of course, there were so few other diners in the restaurant he had plenty of time to give us personal service.

So we’ve been telling everyone we know: EAT AT RAKU. We told our kids. (Hidden agenda – we’ll babysit the grandkids while they have lunch.) I posted a picture of Linda’s bento box on Facebook. And I gave it a 5-star rating on Yelp. (I’ll ‘tweet’ this review after it’s posted.)

It’s gotta be the best lunch deal in Edina.

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