By February 4, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

BarView-All Them Raw Emotions

By Kate Serpa
Photos by Philip Johnson

All Them Raw Emotions: Valentine’s Day at Raw Sushi Bistro

Do you know what’s disgusting? Valentine’s Day happens to be my favorite holiday. I can’t make a sandwich to save my life, but ask me to sacrifice hours to tweezing individual flecks of glitter into the shape of a heart and I would happily oblige. My card theme last year was old movie monsters, inscribed with such charming nuances as: “Roses are red, violets are blue, be my Valentine or I’ll murder you.” Oh, sweet love!

I can, however, understand how Valentine’s Day got its’ bad rap; I work in a restaurant setting that is forced to witness those special individuals who spear-head the cliches of engagement ring-festooned desserts and public butterfly kisses (vomit). It seems as though there was some evil mastermind plan to stick good ol’ V. D. hot on the heels of your failing New Year’s resolutions. Like the calendar gods are trying to kill one with two by giving your ego a sucker-punch to the face by reminding you that — oh, you’ve just given up your Paleo diet and restarted smoking? Better remind you that you’re also utterly, utterly alone on the day that revolves around dishing out the love.

I understand how the hatred got attached; yet, comrades, Valentine’s Day is coming… I know it hurts, but sake bombs will heal that aching heart. So I dragged poor Phil to a number of locations to find ze perfect Valentine’s spot, and the obvious choice and winning suitor was Raw Sushi Bistro! (Cue: Wild applause) Raw is a lovely new addition to the downtown restaurant circuit having been open for only seven months, but they are delivering staying power in my boozy heart. Raw houses, in my humble opinion, the prettiest bar in Modesto. This back-lit and laddered-shelved beauty holds over a hundred bottles, with the majority being devoted to vodka. A healthy variety of sakes and wines are also offered for those of us on the liquid-dinner diet, along with a with a chocolate box assortment of colorful cocktails, Japanese beers, and champagne for you romantic types. I know I’m buzzed, but it might just be love. This sleek family owned restaurant is managed by Alex Phongsavat — its sister location is in Stockton and managed by Alex’s brother. Alex credits the restaurant’s beautiful interior, terrific bar, and top service for its success, but I think he’s missing the whole bit about the instant love rush I felt when bartender Melissa Quesada brought out my Peach Fuzz martini, hamachi nigiri, and SCS roll (tempura asparagus and spicy tuna). Swoon! Kate + sushi & Peach Fuzz martini = Luv 4ever.

So we all know Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday this year, right? And we all know because it’s on a Friday extra effort has to be put in, right? Well, for those of you who are behind on the count, Phil and I have figured out a pretty fantastic game plan for you. Raw Sushi is a two second walk away from Gallo Center, who is showcasing Modesto Symphony Orchestra’s Classic Series featuring Brahms and Tchaikovsky. Sushi, cocktails, and classical music, people — if that’s not going to earn you some Valentine’s special time I don’t know what will. Speaking of, I hope you’re all very proud of me for refraining from all of the cheap pun humor I could have spun with this article — read: ‘Raw’ as an adjective, oysters, fleshy, etc. That’s how much I enjoyed Raw Sushi’s fantastic cocktails, rolls, and atmosphere; it was lovely, and I want to be ensure that I’ll be allowed back. Let us bow our heads and share a moment of silence for the tasteless humor that might have been. Happy Valentine’s Day, Modesto! 1200 I St, Modesto, CA (209) 566-9560

For info on Valentine’s Day, Sake Tastings, DJ performances, and more! Instagram #rawmodesto

Posted in: featured, food & drink

About the Author:

Kate Serpa does not live in Modesto, CA, nor does she attend court-reporting school. She has not played for the piano for a number of years and she is definitely not excited about helping out at the McHenry Museum. She detests drinking, bar hopping, and late night adventures, and thinks girls who dye their hair red are disgraceful. She has absolutely zero sense of humor and is boring as hell.