Today is nice and for once, we didn’t have too much homework to do. Finals week is creeping up, so my friends and I thought it was best to have a nice lunch before hitting the bunker to study. Since the semester is near an end, our bank accounts are not at full capacity, so we wanted a lower budget lunch. West Campus was off limits and we were not feeling for pizza. Considering my friends are Asian, we usually scrutinize an Asian spot before even considering trying it.
MARU Japanese has 4.7 stars on Google. Their menu was budget friendly and the pictures posted made our stomachs growl. The best part is that it is in the Rosedale neighborhood, which is central to our homes (or at least, the major roads to get home). The restaurant is small and if you drive too fast on Burnet, you will miss it (note: it is next to Gusto). MARU is what we call it as an old-school spot. It is not glamorous as Uchi/Uchiko and definitely does not give off the franchise feel like Sushi Zushi. When you walk in you are listening to perfect 90s/early 2000s pop music you would hear at a karaoke bar. There was an elderly couple at the sushi bar. The place was decorated with artwork along the walls and lucky cats.
The menu provides a plethora of options, and like I said at a budget-friendly cost. I am a sucker for Bento boxes. You get a little bit of everything. Who can deny that? I ordered a Chicken Teriyaki Bento box. The Bento box includes soup, tempura, California rolls, salad, rice, and my choice of meat. I am also a sucker for Unagi, so along with the Bento box, I ordered some Unagi and some Hamachi off the Nigiri Sushi menu. The Nigiri Sushi menu is a piece of paper the waitress handed us where we check off with a pencil the rolls or sushi we wanted. Like I said, old-school stuff.
One of my friends ordered Yakudon, which is stir friend seafood mixed in Udon noodles. She let me try it and it was amazing. It was not dry, the noodles were soft and absorbed the flavor of the seafood while not making your breath smell like the ocean.
My other friend ordered an Udon soup. I didn’t get to try it since he ordered it spicy hot and my spice tolerance isn’t necessarily high. What I can tell you is that is smelled really good. The waitress was nice enough to offer a complementary dessert since it was our first visit. Think different flavored cake bites. They were enjoyable and a nice way to end a delicious lunch. MARU tops as one of my favorite Japanese restaurants because of its budget-friendly menu and variety in plates. I cannot wait to come back for more.
MARU Japanese Restaurant is located at 4636 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78756