Fuji’s fish fulfills fantasies

After months of teasing me with their ‘Coming Soon’ sign, the owners of Fuji have finally opened their doors. This spacious, oriental restaurant holds booths, a sushi bar, and hibachi grills on which chefs prepare a meal in front of diners. Bringing entertainment, fire, and orient, Fuji is just the spice and color that Ames needs. Starting a meal with appetizers is a must at a sushi bar. They give you the nudge that encourages you to try something new, something raw, or perhaps something marinated. But a ruined appetizer can offset a perfectly delicious meal, so the chefs at Fuji take their time. My curiosity wallowed with satisfaction when I bit into the Karashi Octopus, which was served with avocados and cucumbers, all soaked in various mustard and wasabi-like spices. The squishy, somewhat hard to chew texture of the octopus meddled well with soft avocado chunks and crunchy cucumbers. However this combination may seem, it came together quite nicely in my mouth. Although not a big fan of Philly rolls, I must say, Fuji gave me reason to reconsider. The quality of the salmon was superior. Its taste stood out quite distinctly – an atypical trait of the roll. Usually the mushy cream cheese and avocado suffocate the salmon flavor, which is also true for the bigger, more filling rolls. Sushi containing more than one type of fish is like a hodgepodge – the few ingredients in simple rolls are outlined much better. The hard to pronounce sushi often contains a mixture of ingredients that may seem appealing, but cramming food into a roll is no way to go. Take the Spider and Dream rolls, for example. Despite the high quality and taste, it is hard to decipher what’s what when your taste buds are on overload. The Spider’s fried soft shell crab dominates over the other ingredients, and the spicy mayo sauce distracts the attention away from the savory veggies. My suggestion to Fuji-goers aiming for the sushi bar is to order one or two simple maki rolls like the Spicy Yellowtail and New York rolls (salmon, cucumber, apple) as well as one fancy order, like the house specialty. The special (and more expensive) rolls are certainly appetizing, but very large in size – impossible for one bite. They also don’t seem to be served with raw fish, the essence of everything that sushi is about. This is probably because Ames, Iowa is far from any coast, but sushi is sushi nonetheless. So if you have not yet lived the sushi experience, head down to the palatial premises of our new Japanese hibachi and sushi bar. And if the idea of raw fish is still gross and you don’t get what all the fuss of sushi is about, the chefs are sure to grill you up a juicy Samurai Steak instead. The menu offers an impressive variety of entrees that can be custom prepared any way you choose.