11:30 am-2 pm Monday-Friday, 5:30-10 pm Monday-Saturday. $$$ Expensive.
[SUSHI] Restaurant Murata is small and unassuming, nestled in a business plaza next door to its beret-wearing neighbor Carafe. If you find Murata, you'll be rewarded with all sorts of just-off-the-boat fresh and unusual sushi and Japanese food that doesn't ride the sushi train. Unusual standout: small plate of raw quail egg with grated yam, tempura natto and ochazuke (fish stock and rice soup with choice of whitebait, salted salmon, spicy cod roe, etc.). Eat what a sumo wrestler gorges on to add junk to the trunk—chanko-nabe stew with chicken, veggies and fish in a rich housemade stock—along with other one-pot stews and soups. Or go with killer sushi, including uni (urchin), cockle clam, squilla shrimp and yellowtail. Murata obliges with a few special rolls, but you should think outside the roll. Service is spot-on, with everything from hot steamed washcloths at seating to pre-dinner complimentary bites. Make a reservation if you can, because the 20-seat dining room and three tatami rooms are almost always full. LIZ CRAIN.
Ideal meal: Uni, hamachi (yellowtail) and unagi (river eel) nigiri sushi followed by maguro ochazuke tuna soup with rice and toasted seaweed.
Best deal: The one- ($18.95) or two-entree ($24.50) inclusive meal with hot and savory custard, rice, miso and pickles.