I followed up a tip from two highly critical French colleagues and headed to Raleigh to try Waraji (5910-147 Duraleigh Road, www.waraji.citysearch.com). I've tried the various sushi contenders in Chapel Hill and Durham -- Sushi Yoshi, Akai Hanna, and so forth; let me say that Waraji is in an entirely different category. This is the real thing. The tuna and salmon nigiri sushi was merely okay, but every thing else -- six or seven different types of roll, tempura, grilled tuna, fried tofu -- was absolutely superb. Particularly fantastic were the rolls featuring soft shell crab and seasoned scallop, and what they call a crunchy roll. The rule of thumb seems to be: the more esoteric, the better.
The bill came to $90 for four -- not bad at all.
This was easily the best Asian meal I've had in North Carolina and maybe the best of meal of any type I've had in North Carolina. All Chapel Hill and Durham sushi lovers should definitely make the pilgrimage.