Background: The first Ru Sans was opened in Atlanta by chef Wataru Nagata. Per the newspaper clippings posted on the wall that I read one night while waiting for a table, Nagata's goal was to mold Ru Sans on the business model of Wal-Mart. That sounds really bad/we are not really sure what that entails, because our table was ready so I stopped reading. Anywho, there is one thing we know for sure, though, and it’s that Ru Sans has the best darn sushi in Charlotte. Disagree? We will fight to the death over it--with chopsticks, of course.
Eat This: When we say “Best in Charlotte,” that doesn’t mean you can only go to the all-you-can-eat buffet and disagree based on that measure alone. You have got to go to Ru Sans for dinner, where you will see some truly incredible sushi chefs working at mach speed to turn out the freshest, tastiest sushi in Charlotte. Furthermore, you have to trust Jason to order you some rolls. His picks will vary, but the mainstays are:
-Always start with the Curry Rice Ball. Not to quibble over details, but it’s really more of a triangle than a ball, Mr. San. Either way, this little guy will start your evening out right.It’s crunchy fried goodness on the outside and sticky rice inside. Don’t get the teriyaki one, get the curry one. You’ve been warned. You are gonna want to start with something, though, as the appetizers are money. The house salad and seaweed salad are good options, as is the tuna poke bowl.
Our favorite rolls:
-Green Dragon Roll. Shrimp tempura and cucumber wrapped in avocado and topped with roe. The best roll on the menu.
-Atomic Salmon: Shrimp tempura and avocado wrapped in salmon, topped with jalapeno slices.
-A basic tuna or salmon roll with avocado is always a good choice. The fish will be fresh and delicious, and, one of the best things about Ru Sans: the rolls are a reasonable size for eating in one bite, just the way God intended. Tamago (sweet egg omelette) is also a great choice, either sashimi or nigiri style.
-Be adventurous and try a roll off of the specials menu. These can be hit and miss, but at least you can say you tried. A recent miss was a roll with big lemon slices on top--rind and all. Was it a garnish and we ate it? Are we supposed to be cool with eating a big bite of citrus rind? Insert that new emoji scratching its chin (best new emoji, hands down).
Dessert: We don’t usually do dessert here, but the grilled mochi cake with red bean sauce is awesome and not something you can find everywhere.
Drink: Sake, obviously. You will also get a boisterous cheer for a sake bomb, if you are at the bar. Pro tip: if you sit at the bar, you will get a complimentary appetizer, like crab (krab) or cucumber salad. Yay!
Atmosphere: The feel here is fairly utilitarian--nothing fancy pants about it. This is not a bad thing, though. The prices match the ambiance. Ru Sans is great for a casual weeknight dinner or a quality and economical meal before a fancier night out Uptown. There is no sushi Uptown that matches Ru Sans. Sorry, Enso. Why would you want to pay more to eat lesser sushi? A funky bar and expensive light fixtures? Nah.
East Asian Hospitality: The service here is mostly great...except for one consistently terrible waitress who shall remain unidentified--at one time, her excuse for being terrible was that she had only been at that job for six months? Um...as someone who has worked in restaurants, I am going to put it out there that six months is what we might call...long enough. She is an anomaly though. Mostly the service is quick and polite.
Frankie’s Notes: If you go to a sushi buffet, lower your expectations; Another pro-tip: a 30-minute quoted wait at Ru Sans is usually only 15-20; Jason loves tuna even though it is slowly giving him mercury poisoning, a la Jeremy Piven; Bad game show idea: “Am I supposed to eat this or is it a garnish?;" Wait, does this mean that Mr. Krab was made out of soy and artificial coloring?; The Epicentre does not have great food and is generally terrifying after 10:30 pm; If you have worked at a restaurant for six months, know that the rest of the world will view that as “kind of a long time.”
Rating: 4 out of 5
2440 Park Road
Charlotte, NC 28203
Monday-Thursday: 11:30-2:30, 4:30-11 pm
Friday: 11:30-2:30, 4:30-12am
Saturday: 12:00-2:30, 4:30-12am