By Sella Robinett
Like an oasis in the desert, so is Rain Premier Sushi Bar and Lounge in downtown Amarillo. The name alone, Rain, invites a cool and refreshing atmosphere. This tasty treasure can be found inside the historic Paramount Theater building at the corner of Ninth Avenue and Polk Street.
I won’t go into the history of the Paramount Theater; that’s a story for another day. Instead, what goes on inside the building now is one of my favorite things: sushi. This Texas Panhandle girl never pictured herself eating raw fish, but once I did, I was hooked. No pun intended. But Rain has much more to offer than sushi.
The entrance to the building is illuminated by the historic Paramount sign that hangs over the sidewalk. The foyer is exquisite, with paintings on the walls and a grand spiraling staircase. It’s like walking into history.
The mood changes as I step inside the restaurant with the cool blue lighting and sleek décor. It has a modern and upscale atmosphere. Ample seating is provided at the bar on one end and at the sushi bar at the other, with tables in between. When the weather is cooperative, patrons enjoy sitting on the patio.
Rain is a good place for either a date night or lunch with friends. I dined with a table of eight, and it wasn’t too loud to carry on a pleasant conversation. Some nights there is live music, and in those cases, the girl talk will have to wait.
For a nutritious snack while you peruse the menu, edamame (soybean pods) is served complimentary, either salty or spicy.
With a variety of menu items to choose from, including soup, salad, fish, beef, chicken and, of course, sushi, the lettuce wraps are a popular choice. I enjoyed the Samurai Drums, which looked like chicken lollipops and tasted slightly sweet and tangy.
I also had the salmon and avocado sushi roll. The happy hour price was only $4, and it included eight pieces. I like to mix a little wasabi with soy sauce for dipping. Wasabi is good in moderation – unless you need your sinuses cleared instantly.
Happy hour specials are available for both food and drinks. For those interested in keeping up with basketball or the Olympics, there are a couple of TVs.
The service is pleasant, but the drinks seem to come slowly. In the five times I have been to Rain, waiting for a drink is my only complaint. That can easily be fixed by simply ordering two to begin with.
Whether you are going on a date, spending time with friends or just looking for something different, Rain Premier Sushi Bar and Lounge is sure to have something for every palate and budget.