Sushi Murasaki sits among the best sushi restaurants in Orange County, California. It only has a few competitors near its quality.
Sushi Murasaki is located in a random business plaza off Fairview and MacArthur . The corner is a few blocks from the decadent luxury brands haven — South Coast Plaza. The two Japanese trained chefs have been behind the Sushi Murasaki’s counter since it opened in 2007. The duo met at Newport Beach’s Kitayama before venturing out on their own.
Sushi Murasaki serves a traditional omakase menu at the sushi bar. In addition, it has an à la carte menu consisting of grilled seafood, land proteins and Western sushi rolls. The small restaurant has about 12 tables along with a 12 person sushi bar. At the omakase only sushi bar, patrons will find Chef Dai and Chef Tomu behind it preparing nigiri for those choosing omakase.
With all sushi restaurants, they serve typical Western rolls and other Japanese dishes like udon. I would never suggest ordering off the à la carte menu. The only way to truly experience a sushi restaurant is to sit at the sushi bar enjoying omakase as the chefs’ show off their talents. If a sushi restaurant doesn’t offer omakase, it’s a big red flag when it comes to the talents of the chef and food quality. Trust me.
Now, I decided to take my Australian cousin here for dinner cause Sushi Murasaki has been on my list for a good amount of time. In addition, Orange County restaurants have always left me uninspired and I usually head to Los Angeles if I decide to dine out. Here were my favorite items off the omakase menu:
- Halibut – The first fish of the night. It set the precedence for the good things that was ahead. The white fish had a slightly firm texture that broke down easily by the rice. The rice was slightly warm making the nigiri buttery with the right amount of vinegar.
- Kanpachi – The kanpachi was fantastic. It was lightly salted adding to the flavors of the fresh fish. The yellow-tail, also known as, amber-jack had a very nice texture to it and the sprinkles of salt gave it depth.
- Toro – Toro is probably the best part of the fish. The tuna’s belly has a buttery texture similar to A5 Japanese wagyu. Sushi Murasaki delivers a bite size serving of the toro on top of a slightly warm bed of rice then its glazed with a single stroke of sweet soy sauce. It’s easily one of the best nigiri served at Murasaki.
The Orange County food scene has never inspired me. It has been filled with mediocre restaurants and new chefs coming onto the scene are usually overrated. The only note worthy restaurants are in Little Saigon and Santa Ana. However, those restaurants serve an array of ethnic comfort foods and they’re far from culinary achievements.
Sushi Murasaki is definitely a gem in Orange County. I would rate them among the top sushi restaurants in Orange County alongside Newport Beach’s Nana San. Nana San gave birth to Chef Masa. Chef Masa is the chef behind New York’s Sushi Zo and it has received a Michelin star after being open less than a year.
- Service - 8/108/10
- Presentation - 7/107/10
- Flavors - 8/108/10
- Decor - 7/107/10
- Ambiance - 7/107/10
Sushi Murasaki serves one of the best omakase menus in Orange County. The price doesn’t break the bank and the casual atmosphere makes the meal fun. The only thing to get at Sushi Murasaki is the omakase. Skip the a la carte menu.