Transcultural Tuna

Ragazza's signature dish, the tuna Ragazza ($16.95, 920 Studemont, 713-864-3700), is an elegant blend of Japanese and Italian cuisines. You'd expect its brown grill marks and overall beige color to impart a strong grill flavor. But the fish's characteristic pink interior, reminiscent of pickled ginger slices, shows that it's barely been touched by the grill, adding just a hint of smoke flavor to the large thick slice of sushi-grade tuna. A pine-nut ponzu sauce, whose ingredients include balsamic vinegar and soy, is drizzled on top, infusing the fish with some tartness and saltiness, and the creamy Parmesan risotto makes a warm and comforting base. Along with the baby spinach sautéed in olive oil and garlic, the risotto reveals the dish's unmistakable Italian influence. Thin strips of grilled carrots, zucchini and yellow squash add an additional splash of color to this transcultural tour de force.
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