2 S Main St, Greenville SC 29601
Hrs: Sun 12pm-12am
Perfect for: Sushi
Menu: Sushi, cooked and raw options, appetizers and small plates
Bar/Drinks: Full bar, sake, wine, beer, varying happy hour and daily specials.
Good to Know: Accessible as the restaurant is all on one level.
Parking: This restaurant is in downtown Greenville. Street parking or public lots are your best options.
Bathroom: 2 – It’s a bathroom, what more do you expect?
Sushi Murasaki, in a prime Main Street location, embodies what I consider to be the best of authentic and “creative” Japanese and Asian fare. The menu is a great mix of really traditional raw rolls and sashimi and creative rolls that appeal to sushi purists, those who prefer nothing raw to touch their plates, and everyone in between. I’ve enjoyed meals in the restaurant and grabbed literally hundreds of dollars in takeout for a big family gathering (“uh, mam, we require a credit card over the phone for orders of this size”), and each time is really a joyous occasion.
The atmosphere is a nice mix of rustic and sleek modern with exposed brick walls, huge windows, and a long bar with tons of seating. Note that all of the tables in Sushi Murasaki are high-top tables, so if you have a family that needs high chairs you might need to eat in The Orient, the sister restaurant next door that shares kitchen space with Murasaki, or at some of the tables outside. Both are great options and still yield the same fantastic sushi experience.
For this meal, we shared big bottles of Sapporo, and I noticed that sake prices on the menu were reasonable to fairly low compared to some other restaurants. We started with the Chicken Yakitori appetizer, interpreted on this menu as crispy skewered chicken with a sweet teriyaki sauce. While not much like authentic Japanese chicken of the same name, the dish was wonderful with tender chicken and flavorful sauce. It wasn’t spicy at all, which would make it a great choice for a child. We also ordered a side salad to make ourselves feel better about the crunchy thin and crispy that is our sushi order, and let me say that the sesame house dressing that comes with the salads at Sushi Murasaki is one of the best I’ve ever had. It tastes just like dressings found all over Japan and is creamy yet tangy with strong sesame and soy flavors. It makes a side salad feel special every time I eat it.
My rule of thumb when ordering sushi is about one and a half roll per person plus other things to achieve a full-but-not-stuffed result. So for this meal that included two adults sharing and a toddler eating maybe two teaspoons of rice, we had 2 chicken skewers, one side salad, 3 rolls, and 4 nigiri total to share. It was the perfect amount of food, and everything was so good. The nigiri was well formed and the rice was soft and room temperature, not too cold or dry at all. We each had a piece of eel and white tuna, which I recommend at any sushi restaurant, but nigiri selection usually comes down to personal preference.
The rolls we chose included a Krazy Girl, Samurai, and negi-toro. Negi means scallion in Japanese and this roll was chopped fresh raw fatty tuna with scallions, full stop. The flavor combination here is great and I love rolls that include a mild onion flavor. The fish was mild and not fishy at all, and the rice-to-fish ratio was perfect. I feel like a broken record! The Krazy Girl roll includes crunchy flakes, spicy crab salad, and spicy mayo. It’s a great fully cooked roll for anyone who likes spicy flavors and texture. It may feel a little bit plain, but paired with the other strong flavors we had in our meal it was perfect.
The Samurai roll is hands down my favorite Sushi Murasaki roll, I try not to make any order there that doesn’t include it. It’s another pretty simple set of flavors – spicy tuna, avocado, tempura crumbs, and spicy mayo. Again, maybe nothing to write home about, but the way the ingredients are formed together with just the right quantity make every bite of this roll a great burst of flavor and freshness while being spicy at the same time. YUM.
And that was it. Wonderful, familiar flavors of traditional sushi mixed with a few fun surprises, and a menu with even more creative roll options to try. See you soon at Sushi Murasaki!