Murasaki: 12158 Fairfax Towne Center, Fairfax, VA 22033 (in Fairfax Towne Center); https://murasakijr.com; (571) 529-6765
This place is worth reviewing here for the sake of a unique experience we had when we tried it on a cold day last month. (February was brutal.) Also because we haven’t seen everything we liked about Murasaki mentioned much elsewhere.
First, we noticed a few unique crab-based items on the menu, like the Soft Shell Crab Tempura appetizer and Crabmeat Miso Soup. Having never even seen the latter, and being a crab junkie, I gave it a try. The miso is just that — dashi stock, fermented-soybean paste and tofu — with chunks of real crabmeat in the cloudy mix (it’s the soup pictured below left). At $7.50, it’s a bit pricey for an appetizer, but the crab is a nice addition and makes for an interesting twist on this staple.
Speaking of staples: Oyakodon is not on the menu, but we asked for it anyway — and, incredibly, they made it for us (above right). Rather, they added sauteed egg, onion and scallion to their Chicken Katsu Donburi and served us that, for the menu price of the donburi. It was delicious and, like the Crabmeat Soup, perfect on a cold day.
New rule for Japanese restaurants: Always ask about oyakodon or okonomiyaki — Japanese comfort-food dishes that we rarely encounter on a menu — and see what happens. It’s unfortunate that Murasaki doesn’t have Chicken Katsu Curry on its menu, because we have a feeling they would do it right here.
The only reason to avoid California Rolls, which as a rule we do, is the imitation crabmeat (it’s all pollock and filler). That roll pictured at the top of the post is Murasaki’s Real Crab California Roll, another unique dish here. Finally, yes — the unagi sashimi was served warm. If we had only one criterion on which to evaluate a Japanese restaurant, it would be whether the unagi comes from the kitchen cold (fail!) or warm (pass).
There are other items worth a mention, though we haven’t tried them yet, like the Murasaki Special Roll. It looks to be a mouthful: shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, and crab — with pink soybean, avocado, cucumber, wasabi mayo, and eel sauce, all topped with tobiko. There’s also the Lasagna Roll, but we’ve said enough about crab for one review. (カニについて十分です。) We look forward to our next visit.