Monday, September 7, 2015

Convention Eats: Raku Sushi/Coin-Op Game Room

Convention Eats: Raku Sushi
Location:  805 Harbor Blvd, West Sacramento, CA 95691
Cuisine: Japanese/Sushi

The front of Raku Sushi. (Photo Credit: KCRA A-List) Note: Photo is outdated as restaurant has moved across the street
If there's one thing Sacramento has plenty of, it's sushi restaurants. From Roseville to Folsom to Downtown Sacramento to Elk Grove, the region is littered these types of restaurants. SacAnime is close to two sushi/Japanese restaurants: Mikuni's (very upscale) and Bento Box (not that upscale but still good).

But if you want to take your sushi game to the next level, there's the buffet sushi restaurants.

The number one spot to go to in Sacramento for sushi has been Fuji's, with locations in Davis, Elk Grove, and Vacaville. However, technically Raku Sushi is closer from my house than Fuji's in Elk Grove. Fuji's is also more of a Chinese/Japanese hybrid buffet restaurant because that restaurant offers hot Chinese food in addition to sushi like chicken skewers, making it more akin to something like Mizu's in Natomas (but making it the bigger focus, Mizu's is the opposite); Raku doesn't have that, but don't let that be your only persuasion factor.

In terms of distance from the convention, it's pretty far - all the way in West Sacramento aka across the Sacramento River - but convenient - it's right off Business 80 and Harbor, on your right before you reach West Capitol Avenue. (If you're like me and didn't pay attention to the move, they are now occupying the old Mel's Diner building next to McDonalds. I actually had to ask the medical shop next door to find out what happened to the restaurant and realize that they were popular enough to not go belly up. The inside is much more spacious, there are more tables, the cold-portion of the buffet is revamped, and you can still sit barside.)

 This is more of a "convention-ending" type of meal more than a "it's the middle of the convention, let's eat here" type of meal. It can be, but it just feels more satisfying to end your weekend with plates and plates and plates of sushi for one price.

Lunch is $13.95 and you get access to the front part of the menu, but during dinner it's bumped up to $20.95 but you unlock the entire back part of the menu that really widens the variety of sushi rolls, nigiri, and other options.

The lunch portion of the menu
The dinner portion of the menu. During dinner, you get access to BOTH SIDES OF THE MENU
The sushi rolls themselves won't totally blow you away, but they're really good and there are a lot of options - you can even create your own hand roll. My all-time favorites at this spot is the Capitol (only available during dinner) and the Dragon.

Dragon (top) and Shrimp Tempura (bottom) rolls
You also have access to an appetizer menu which includes mixed tempura, miso soup, and chicken katsu. But for me, I always have to order the fried oysters. These are also unlimited too as well.

And then there's the unlimited option of fried bananas and donuts for desert.

Because you're not really full until you eat these two. Also not pictured: sesame balls
Verdict: For a sushi restaurant, if you're looking for a magical, one-of-a-kind experience, you're looking at the wrong place. (You're better off going to Mikuni's if you want that type of experience, but expect to pay very high prices for a decent single-plate meal.) But for volume eating, especially after the end of the convention, you've come to the right place.

Price: $$$$
Food Quality: 7.5/10
Wait For Food: 8/10
Distance from Con: 2/10

But wait, THERE'S MORE!!!

Convention Drinks(?): Coin-Op Game Room
Location: 908 K Street, Sacramento CA 95814
Cuisine: Drinks/Bar Food

Located three to four blocks from the Sacramento Convention (and therefore SacAnime), the Coin-Op Game Room adds to the long list of bars and nightclubs across downtown and midtown Sacramento. It's located on the K Street block of bars/nightclubs/restaurants, which also include Dive Bar, Pizza Rock, and KBAR.
But what separates this spot from other bars and nightclubs in Sacramento is that this location features old-school arcade games. These games will really take you back in time: Pac-Man, Daytona USA, Paperboy, Donkey Kong, Dig Dug, Mortal Kombat II, two Street Fighter II machines, Joust, NBA Jam, Final Fight, Frogger, The Simpsons, TMNT, the Atari Star Wars game (complete with throwback vector graphics), Gauntlet, and a once-in-a-thousand-made six-player X-Men cabinet just to name a few. The only "modern" machines they had were their selection of pinball machines and a four-player Pac-Man tabletop cabinet.

The bar has domestic and craft drinks as well as cocktails and bar food like slices of pizza. After drinking a pint of Guinness over at de Vere's Irish Pub, I was looking for another stout beer.

For reference, the before and after of a legit pint of Guinness
  The one I had over at Coin-Op is what I described as a "Guinness that tastes like S'Mores."

It really did remind me of a campfire, which ironically I was at two weeks ago
They also had on tap a macadamia nut stout beer, but I'll save that beer for a return trip.

Most of the games costs a quarter to two quarters with a handy change machine nearby. My visit to this spot during SacAnime Summer 2015 I found myself working on my power drifting in Daytona USA, trying out the Lost in Space and other pinball machines, and going deep on Dig Dug. They even have drink caddies nearby so you can take a sip of your drink between levels.

Third highest score on the machine
They also had giant Jenga and Connect Four games going on outside.

Verdict: It's the ultimate mashup of geekness, bar drinks and food, and a good time - perfect for a night on the town or during your next bar-hopping session during convention time. It's even better when the bar does promotions during SacAnime/Wizard World Sacramento like free play on a weekend (usually their free play day is the last Sunday of every month).

Price: $$$
Drink Quality: 10/10
Wait For Drinks: 8/10
Distance from Con: 7/10

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