Sushi Murasaki - Santa Ana
Rather than my usual word spewage, I'll go for brevity this week. So here goes:
PLACE: Sushi Murasaki
DECOR: Pier 1 Imports meets Japanese tea room.
INTERESTING THING THAT I NOTICED: They have a sushi roll called "The Santa Ana". It's topped with salsa.
WHAT WE ORDERED: Omakase
COST: $50 per person for six courses with a mix of cooked dishes from the kitchen and raw ones from the sushi bar. There was also an option to do all sushi, or all cooked dishes. Though $50 was the minimum, you could upgrade to bigger meals for a nominal fee.
A long plate with three cold dishes.
They were bigger than an amuse bouche, smaller than an appetizer, and consisted of the following:
Enoki Mushrooms with Boiled Greens.
A tiny portion that could've been mistaken for garnish. We finished it in two bites.
Ankimo (monkfish liver) and Ponzu.
Ate like hard-cooked egg yolk. A puddle of ponzu beneath mitigated its richness.
Oyster Cooked with Miso Paste.
I could've easily consumed two more. Make that four. No, actually six.
Sashimi with Shishito Oil.
It looked like it came out of ticker-tape parade. Strands of daikon, unidentified red strings of vegetable matter acted as textural add-ons and confetti. Not sure why, but it reminded me of sauerkraut. Bits of nuts were sprinkled on for crunch. Disconcertingly, the fish was lukewarm.
Sauteed Abalone in Foil with Asparagus, Mushroom, and Broth.
Biting down on the abalone was like gnawing on old gum. It made us wonder: "Is abalone always this chewy?" The veggies and the broth saved the dish, barely.
Assorted Sushi with Six Pieces of Nigiri and Two Cut Rolls.
All amazing. Arabian shrimp was the best. It was pallid like a ghost, opaque grey in parts and scorched by torch in others. The rest of the nigiri had playful Jell-O consistencies, were slick as an oiled inner-tube, or melted like ice cream. Cut rolls had a core of uni (sea urchin roe) -- always a winner as all things involving uni are.
Chawanmushi, Japanese Savory Steamed Egg Custard.
Shrimp, fish, and mushroom hid beneath the quiver of barely set beaten eggs. Eating technique was to blow and slurp carefully lest you want your tongue to suffer first-degree burns.
Panna Cotta with Red Wine and Berries.
Wiggled like gelatin with the constitution of a cheese cake. Quite possibly one of the best panna cottas I've ever had. The pudding was creamy without being cloying, and the thin pour of wine over the top was a stroke of genius. Bitter, sweet, tart, wonderful.
CONCLUSION: Was still hungry. Next time, I'll do the all sushi-omakase. Will leave the cooked stuff to izakayas. And so much for being brief!
2901 W Macarthur Blvd
Santa Ana, CA 92704
*Special Thanks to Monster Munching reader Alosha (a.k.a. Melissa) for the tip.
THIS WEEK ON OC WEEKLY:
The Hidden Kitchen - Costa Mesa