Restaurant Review: Soy’s Sushi Bar and Grill

Murray Japanese restaurant has big flavors at affordable prices

(Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune) Boneless spare ribs at Soy's Sushi Bar & Grill in Murray.

Soy’s Sushi Bar and Grill, smartly located on the ground floor of a newly built hotel near Intermountain Medical Center in the heart of historic Murray, caters to locals and visitors alike.

Locals might find similarities to chef Ariunbold Batsaikhan’s previous restaurant, the now-razed Rice Basil of Holladay; visitors can delight in the striking décor and energetic atmosphere in a quiet suburban neighborhood.

But the first thing that all diners will likely recognize is that prices are surprisingly reasonable without the stigma of the ubiquitous BOGO deal found in so many sushi restaurants in Utah. Six days a week, guests can enjoy $9 lunch specials in the form of bento boxes with five choices of entrée or two-roll sushi combos.

Even during the evening, Soy’s menu is thoughtfully arranged for sushi lovers who want to try a wider selection of rolls. Sushi appetizers with prices in the $4-$6 range offer smaller rolls in 12 flavors — from the classic spicy tuna ($6) to a surprisingly memorable veggie tempura ($5) topped with eel sauce. Even a spider roll ($5) was available at this stellar price, but the tempura-fried softshell crab was nearly inedible because of the dirty grease taste that coated our palates one evening.

(Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune) The bar area of Soy's Sushi Bar & Grill in Murray.

Yet, with this one exception, maki-style sushi (and the excellent sushi rice that goes into them) are still the shining stars at Soy’s. Full-size versions of many of the same appetizer rolls are available in addition to familiar offerings like the Playboy ($12) with shrimp tempura, cucumber and avocado topped with tuna and tobiko and dressed with rich aioli and eel sauce. The Brooklyn roll ($13) also represented well with kicky tuna, inari and fresh cucumber topped with spicy crab and dotted with tempura crunchies for texture.

More creative selections can be found in the Holladay ($13), which proved to be our single favorite roll, loaded with tuna tartare and toothsome shishito peppers, then covered with beautiful slices of yellowtail, escolar and shredded peppers. The Snowbird ($11) also made us appreciate the same yellowtail and escolar in addition to what turned out to be subtle flavors from jalapeño and jalapeño vinaigrette judiciously applied.

For those who love the American-style rolls that feature warm cream cheese, the Volcano ($13) did not disappoint, with melted cream cheese mingling with deep-fried spicy tuna and creamy baked scallops that were worthy of their own dish.

If your tastes lean toward unadulterated slices of fish, Soy’s has a respectable array of sashimi, including octopus ($13), salmon ($13) and even ocean trout ($13). Platters deliver 10 ($20) or 20 ($35) slices of sashimi; a similar selection of nigiri is offered, too.

(Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Jalapeno Hamachi at Soy's Sushi Bar & Grill in Murray.

Aside from raw fish options, Soy’s menu presents a variety of entrées. From teriyaki with your choice of protein ($13-$15) to tempura shrimp and vegetables ($14), these options are staples that will fill and satisfy most. The yakisoba with beef ($13) offered little in the way of protein and less in flavor as the stir-fried noodles were overly dry and even crunchy at bites.

Better was the firm and meaty marinated black cod ($16) with crispy skin served with deep-fried shishito peppers and topped with a sweet chile sauce.

For lighter appetites, a nicely composed seaweed salad ($5) with squid ($2) or the chef’s special salad ($9-$12 depending on protein) are choices worth considering.

Another favorite was the tuna tataki special ($15) found on the appetizer menu that was artfully presented with intricate flavors to match. A generous portion of lightly seared bigeye tuna came accompanied by thinly sliced tomatoes and avocados and fresh sprouts, brought together by the ponzu sauce and a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Any dish at Soy’s can be paired with a personally designed sake flight or single offering, as well as a thoughtful selection of wine and beer.

The restaurant also hosts a number of special events, including food and drink specials on Wednesdays from 3-5 p.m. and sushi-making classes on select Saturdays that include instruction on how to slice fish and use a sushi mat.

Soy’s Sushi Bar and Grill brings fresh energy and flavors to Murray with this bright and clean addition to the neighborhood serving noteworthy sushi and Japanese cuisine at reasonable prices.

Heather L. King also writes for www.slclunches.com and can be found on social media @slclunches

Soy’s Sushi Bar and Grill ★★½ (out of ★★★★ stars) Food: ★★½ Mood: ★★★ Service: ★★½ Soy’s Sushi Bar and Grill offers affordable sushi and more to hotel guests and locals from its new location on State Street in historic Murray. Location: 4923 S. State St., Murray; 801-290-2764 Online: soysushiutah.com Hours: Open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 9 p.m. Children’s menu: No Prices: $$-$$$ Liquor: Beer, wine and sake Reservations: Yes Takeout: Yes Wheelchair access: Yes Outdoor dining: No On-site parking: Yes Credit cards: All major