Restaurant Review: Sushi Mura

Instead, the place is tasteful, with a single image of two Koi fish hanging toward the back and a flat-screen television angled in a corner to face patrons. The tables are clean with black cloth napkins folded into a pocket to hold a set of smooth chopsticks. The soy sauce is not in an easily accessible bottle placed at each table. Apparently it is not the ordinary Kikkoman, because it is poured personally into a small ceramic plate. The special concoction taste very similar to any other soy sauce, but it has a slightly muted flavor of less salt.

Like the restaurant’s decor, the menu is simplified into one page, front and back. The appetizers are separated by serving temperature of hot or cold. Some of the items are typical of any sushi eatery, for example: edamame ($3), gyoza ($5), mixed tempura ($8) and fried calamari ($6). However the Crispy Tuna Tartare ($15), tuna tartare topped with soft shell crab and drizzled with a spicy ginger sauce or the Salmon Tartare ($13), served with caviar, jalapeno and fried, sliced lotus root (also known as renkon chips) call for a more sophisticated palette. The more common House Garden Salad ($5) is composed of mixed greens, a pile of grated carrots and tomatoes dressed with a light ginger vinaigrette. The dressing was just the right amount of tangy flavor, although the tomatoes were too sparse in the bed of lettuce.

On the back of the menu, the sushi is also divided between classic and special rolls. The classic rolls range from $6 to $13 and include favorites like the Shrimp Tempura Roll ($7), California Roll ($9) and Rainbow Roll ($13). Out of the six special roll options, five consist of spicy ingredients, whether it is a sauce or the addition of jalapenos. The Southern Tataki ($16) is filled with shrimp tempura, imitation crab, cucumber and avocado and topped with seared tuna, jalapeno and a garlic ponzu sauce. The lightly breaded deep fried tempura shrimp in addition to the crunchy jalapeno delivers a satisfying crunch. The seared tuna adds a nice smoky flavor that compliments the spiciness of the jalapeno.

The La Playa ($14) is made up of salmon, cream cheese, imitation crab, cilantro and of course — more jalapeno layered with avocado, renkon chips, eel sauce and spicy mayo. The renkon chips also creates a nice bite to the typically softer texture. The cilantro carries a bright flavor with hints of citrus to play off the thick sweetness of the cream cheese. Both the Southern Tataki and La Playa rolls are thoughtfully balanced with unexpected ingredients. The specially crafted soy sauce concoction works well not to mask the other flavorful elements. The waiters were prompt and made sure that the cool cucumber water and special soy sauce were always filled.

In addition the menu offers several chicken, beef or salmon entrees that are served alongside rice, miso soup and salad ($8 to $18). There are also two udon noodle options that both include mushroom, sweet tofu and fish cake ($10). Due to the concise menu, Sushi Mura is not recommended to the non-sushi lovers — because there’s just not much else to choose from. However, for those who can appreciate raw fish, Sushi Mura is definitely a place worth trying out. The Liberty Station area exudes a quiet charm that is perfect for a relaxed dinner out. The food at Sushi Mura is thoughtfully composed of bold flavors, unique textures and fresh ingredients, while the service is friendly and attentive. (4/5 stars)