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Best sushi in NC is Haru, Raleigh.

I almost don't want to post this since Haru is small but the sushi is so good and the people are so nice, they deserve the praise.

Haru is the sort of super fresh, almost silky sushi we haven't had since we came to NC from California 20 years ago. We found at least 5 different kinds of tuna, imagine that, including maguro, toro, white tuna, spicy tuna, tuna tataki and bonita. Salmon is fatty and flavorful Norwegian Salmon, and I even saw fresh Spanish Mackeral the other day. Tomago has always been fresh. Quality of everything has been first rate. You have to ask if you want wasabi on your sushi, but they'll gladly do it.

Sushi master is proud of his rolls and the one he made with shrimp tempura looked wonderful but we are purists and prefer our sushi straight, or sashimi or even chirashi which isn't served traditionally in a large bowl atop sushi rice but was more like sushi with rice along side.

I am delighted we found Haru. Address is 2603 Glelnwood in Glenwod Village. And I hope we can still get a seat at the sushi bar next time we go.

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  1. I second this strongly. Haru is now our regular sushi bar....can't be beat.

    2 Replies
    1. re: VaNC

      so it beats out the titan Waraji?

      1. re: VaNC

        The secret is out! I agree, Haru is definitely the best sushi in Raleigh. I had given up on finding quality sushi in Raleigh until we found Haru. Great service, knowledgeable staff as well. We've been going once a week and have yet to be disappointed on any level.

      2. I'm not going to discuss the quality of the fish at Haru since I don't consider myself qualified to judge adequately, but I'm curious if anyone else has had this experience there.

        The waiter we had seemed confused at best. He was entirely unfamiliar with the Japanese names of any of the sushi we asked for and we weren't familiar with the English names of many of the sushi we like. The waiter didn't begin asking for help from the sushi chef until our frustration level was getting noticeable. The chef had no problem serving what we wanted - it was all on the regular menu anyhow. After the meal we stood at the sushi bar for a few minutes (the restaurant was very quiet that night) and watched the chef. We decided that the best way to eat at Haru was at the sushi bar, not at a table. The whole service experience was more than a little disconcerting in general. Did we just get a bad waiter?

        1 Reply
        1. re: rockycat

          Japanese names of foods are rarely used at sushi bars in the south (from what I've seen). I work at a sushi place and I only know the japanese names of certain items because I LOOOOOOVE sushi and know them from experience, not from any kind of training or instruction from my workplace.
          It is strange that they didn't simply ask someone else right away, which would definitely be the servers fault, but we're also encouraged to try to figure out any issues by myself, not bother busy co-workers, so I kind of understand that in a way.
          And if you sit at the sushi bar, it's likely you'll still be waited on by the servers; it's rare to be waited on by the sushi chefs, they're busy and not paid to serve. They'll usually make something up when you ask for it and they aren't busy, but you'll still have to tell the server at some point.

          Just thought i'd pass on some food-place ideas about why that annoying experience happened.
          I'm definitely eager to try this place....

        2. Has anyone tried the new place Sono on Fayetteville St.? I thought it was pretty good but I'll have to check out Haru.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Random Thoughts

            I enjoyed Sono as well, and remain a big Mura fan. I haven't tried Haru but will add it to my list.

            1. re: Random Thoughts

              I have tried Sono and put it along the lines of Mura or Sushi Blues, good, but their speciality seems to be more of the rolls with fried things in them.... not what I would call traditional sushi. More americanized. I found the service lacking at Sono, but the fish was fine for what it was...just not my thing. I prefer Waraji or Haru.

              1. re: Random Thoughts

                I liked Sono, haven't tried Haru. We sat at the sushi bar at Sono and enjoyed the fun atmosphere - definitely a good addition to Fayetteville Street from that perspective. Above-average wine list and cocktails for a sushi restaurant. I remember enjoying the sushi but unfortunately can't remember lots of details. It was a little expensive ($30 pp including one glass of wine) but probably not more expensive than Haru, Waraji et al. Their lunch menu looked intriguing and very affordable - bento boxes, several options for the non-sushi-lovers (I am a sushi lover, but I know most people downtown are eating lunch with coworkers and it can be very difficult to convince a crowd of lawyers or bankers to go for sushi).

              2. Going out for Sushi tonight so we will give Haru a try....

                1. i thought the pieces were cut a little too thick, but that's probably on par with the other sushi restaurants here in the triangle. the actual selection was also not as extensive as the menu indicates--no scallop, sea urchin (although it's not the right season), no fatty yellowtail, no raw shrimp. we did, however, order the lobster (60 dollars), which was the highlight of the meal.

                  despite the great, friendly service, i was a little disappointed with haru. since i live 25 miles away, i don't feel an urgency to return.

                  1. i thought the pieces were cut a little too thick, but that's probably on par with the other sushi restaurants here in the triangle. the actual selection was also not as extensive as the menu indicates--no scallop, sea urchin (although it's not the right season), no fatty yellowtail, no raw shrimp. we did, however, order the lobster (60 dollars), which was the highlight of the meal.

                    despite the extremely friendly service, i was a little disappointed with haru. since i live 25 miles away, i don't feel an urgency to return.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: cervisiam

                      Just so you know, thicker pieces and smaller rice balls for nigiri are how the Japanese do it. The americans or whatever will try to fill you up on rice. It's cheaper that way.

                      There are several places that I think are good that have popped up lately, many names on this list. But Waraji and more importantly Masa has been doing it right in Raleigh since the early 80s at least (he worked at Kanki that had the only Sushi Bar in town then). There is something to be said about longevity.

                      Edit: I just saw that after I posted this, there is a link or something to Kanki. Don't go there for sushi. I think we all knew this.

                      4500 Old Wake Forest Rd, Raleigh, NC 27609

                    2. Waraji still is the best in Raleigh, NC even on the bad day.....by far. I am from SoCal too, but then again everyone taste is different. My family wont be back again for sure............

                      1. Haru is a great sushi restaurant. Their rolls and sushi is good but the hot food is just average. Sushi wise I think haru is a excellent addition to Raleigh. Sono is another great sushi joint too. Sono and Haru is probabably my favorite sushi restaurants. I think those two are on the same level as Waraji. Waraji used to be very good but has fallen just a tad, but still respectable. I know mura is basically the same company as sono but sono is much better. Over the years, Mura has gone down and Sono has improved drastically. Downside to Sono is that too many of their rolls has tempura in it. I am a traditionalist too so I prefer things more straight up as well. But what I love about Sono is that if you see a roll you like and ask them to replace the fried items with something else, they will gladly do it without any question, which is also true at Haru. This is very good since I try to stay away from fried foods. I love sitting at the sushi bar at Haru and Sono because they make the experience much more memorable. Haru has better service partly because of the smaller size but I still prefer Sono overall for their creativity and hot foods. Both are excellent choices for sushi. But like they say, everyones taste buds are different but please don't compare them to sushi blues or mura, they are not on the same level as Haru or Sono. But then again, that's just me. Anyways, back to the point. Haru is a great restaurant. :)

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: singasong

                          Kurama is easily the best sushi I've had in NC and should be in any conversation. I've been to Waraji (which I liked) but not Haru. Kurama is an amazing experience, while Waraji is simply a bit above average.

                          1. re: veganhater

                            I felt compelled to try Haru after reading this thread and the opportunity arose last night. We arrived right when they opened and sat at a booth for an early dinner. The space is exactly what you would expect from a storefront sushi place in appearance, generic Japanese look, but comfortable and clean. Menu selections were also predictable, with a slightly larger than normal offering of fish.

                            After reading some posts above, I wished we could have sat at the bar (kids). Our server, however, was the highlight of our meal. She timed everything perfectly, was aware of keeping the kids occupied and happy, made some good rec's and had great table presence in general. She improved the meal tremendously, which helped quite a bit considering some of the fish.

                            As far as the food's concerned, our experience left a little to be desired. Some items were great, some just missed, and a couple were poor. Highlights included a fluke sashimi over daikon and cucumber (recommended), an above average complementary soup, salmon skin salad, yellowtail, king mackerel and white tuna (escolar), Dishes that came close to hitting the mark start with a mix of seafood in a creamy sauce baked in scallop shell, which tasted great but was loaded with conch that bordered on unchewable. We ordered fatty salmon (belly meat) over regular salmon and it was tougher than normal salmon and devoid of flavor. Two American style rolls were ordered and were fine, if indistinctive. Poor item included fatty tuna that looked beautiful but was chewy, old uni that had started to brown, and tempura ice cream that was a cakey mess purchased straight from a distributor. Granted I never go to sushi restaurants with dessert in mind, but don't put something that bad on the menu.

                            Much like my local sushi joint, good meals can be had at Haru. They did enough right where you could cherry pick the menu and avoid the items not worthy, This makes it a reliable neighborhood spot, but not a destination. If I lived in the area, I would go back regularly and make sure our waitress was working. As far as comparing Haru to Waraji, our experience at the latter was slightly better on the food end, but not on service.

                            1. re: veganhater

                              You couldn't sit at the bar because you were with kids or because there were kids already there? Either way, we always sit at the bar with the Offspring when there is the room available. She loves watching the "show" and we've found that both at Haru and Waraji, the chefs enjoy her attention and interest and will play up to her.

                              1. re: rockycat

                                Our 2.5year old is the reason we didn't sit at the bar. He's barely able to handle a meal sitting in a booth with crayons and other attention diverters. In this case it worked out as our server was fantastic.

                                1. re: veganhater

                                  Ah. Gotcha. In that case, a bowl of rice can be your/your child's best friend.

                                  1. re: rockycat

                                    and tempura! what kid doesn't love things fried?

                                2. re: rockycat

                                  Yeah, the sushi bar was the first way we got Lulu excited about sushi. Sitting right there watching everything, getting special attention from the sushi chefs - definitely made it all more appealling to her. So maybe once veganhater's child is a little older, this will be a hot selling point.