Meet Chef Tai Obata of RA Sushi Bar Restaurant and get a great recipe too!

Chef Tai Obata and Kim Hanna behind the sushi bar at RA Sushi Bar Restaurant
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Talk about adventurous!

With a challenge in his head and freedom in his heart, Chef Tai Obata boldly decided to move across the planet! Being born, raised, classically trained and working for 18 years as a chef in Japan, he eventually headed to the U.S. As first generation, Chef Tai truly embodies the American Dream!  He started RA Sushi Bar Restaurant in Old Town Scottsdale and has grown his empire to over 28 locations across the country!

From the RA Sushi Bar Restaurant menu

Chef Tai Obata and Kim Hanna at RA Sushi Bar Restaurant in Old Town Scottsdale
Chef Tai Obata and Kim Hanna at RA Sushi Bar Restaurant in Old Town Scottsdale

Chef Tai put on a HUGE spread for our visit!  He was slightly reluctant when I wanted to be the sole consumer of the Umami Punch…so I switched to sake instead (ha ha).  Check out the offerings he shared…

  • BARA CHIRASHI BOWL – Tuna, salmon, yellowtail, shrimp, avocado & cucumber with Asian green vegetables, mixed with poki sauce; served over rice
  • CHILI PONZU YELLOWTAIL ROLL – Spciy yellowtail mix rolled with cucumber, avocado, jalapeño and cilantro; topped with crispy garlic and served with a chili ponzu sauce
  • VIVA LAS VEGAS ROLL – Crab and cream cheese rolled in rice and seaweed, lightly tempura battered and topped with spicy tuna, crab mix and sliced lotus root; finished with a sweet eel sauce and spinach tempura bits
  • MANGO LOBSTER ROLL – Lobster mix, avocado and cucumber rolled and topped with thinly sliced mango; served with mango tobiko and kiwi wasabi sauces
  • TUNA2 SALAD – Seared ahi with tataki and albacore tuna drizzled with garlic ponzu sauce, placed over a bed of mixed greens with sliced avocado, jalapeño, cilantro, fried wontons and cashews; served with onion soy vinaigrette
  • UMAMI PUNCH – Dive into a 60 ounce blend of Svedka Vodka, Southern Comfort, Disaronno, cold sake and tropical juices; served in a fish bowl (meant for two!)
  • SEA MONKEY – Looks as cool as it tastes; made with Skyy Raspberry Vodka, Chambord, pineapple and cranberry juices
  • BLUSHING GEISHA – Cold lemonade mixed with Skyy Raspberry Vodka, Chambord and lemon sour; looks innocent but look again, she might not be

A chef and all around super-creative guy

Chef Tai is an artist too - Airbrush painting is a hobby
Chef Tai is an artist too – Airbrush painting is a hobby

Chef Tai’s creativity does not end in the kitchen; he is a talented artist too.  You will see a few of his airbrush paintings on the walls at the Old Town Scottsdale location.  In addition, he creates pottery…he actually used some of his handmade teacups and sushi dishes in service when the restaurant first opened.  With so many locations, he has accepted the fact that he now needs to rely on commercially made items.

Chef Tai does pottery too
Chef Tai does pottery too

I was so excited about his pottery that he actually gave me a teacup from his personal collection! I will forever cherish my gift from him…Thank you Chef Tai!  On top of all that, Chef Tai golfs and camps (you know I really bonded with him when I found out he is a fellow camping enthusiast)!!!  He admits that he doesn’t sleep much…I say he is one high-energy super cool guy!

My gift from Chef Tai - a teacup he created
My gift from Chef Tai – a teacup he created!


It’s got that vibe

Downtown Scottsdale has lots of tourists and energy. Plus fun ways to get around!
Downtown Scottsdale has lots of tourists and energy. Plus fun ways to get around!

A lot of thought goes in to deciding where to start a new restaurant and Chef Tai loved the energy of Downtown Scottsdale.  There are lots of tourists and locals in a fun environment.  Whether getting around by Segway, trolley, bicycle or foot…taking your time to experience Old Town is well worth it!

Japanese traditions

Japanese tradition - men are served first
Japanese tradition – men are served first

Men are served first in Japanese culture.  I had a blast serving Chef Tai his sake and it was an absolute honor having him serve me mine.  A quick lesson on using chopsticks was in order.  Even though Chef Tai is a great teacher, I was not an ace student. He was slightly humored by my failed attempt to learn on the spot!  I had to finally admit to him that I actually use forks rather than chopsticks.

I had to admit I don't know how to use chopsticks...I really use forks!
I had to admit I don’t know how to use chopsticks…I really use forks!

RA Sushi Bar Restaurant in Old Town Scottsdale is located at:
3815 N Scottsdale Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Phone: 480-990-9256

“Flavors of Scottsdale” is sponsored by Downtown Scottsdale, home to the restaurants featured along with dozens more, and by the City of Scottsdale’s Office of Diversity, which supports and promotes the city’s commitment to an inclusive community.

TUNA2 SALAD recipe from RA Sushi Bar Restaurant

Recipe courtesy of RA Sushi Bar
Yield: 1 serving


2 oz. Spring Mix
4 pieces (2 oz.) Albacore Tuna
4 pieces (2 oz.) Ahi Tuna
8 slices Avocado
1 tsp. unsweetened garlic ponzu sauce
1.5 tsp. sautéed nuts, crushed
1.5 tsp. diced red and green bell peppers
3 T. ginger sauce (with lime and soy)
Cilantro sprig
Sliced jalapeño to taste
Fried wonton strips to taste


Place lettuce mix on a plate or in a bowl.  Alternate albacore along the right side of bowl and alternate ahi along left side of bowl. Top with bell pepper, jalapeño slices, and avocado. Drizzle with the garlic ponzu sauce. Serve the ginger sauce on the side. Garnish salad with cilantro sprig.

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