Jean just moved back to Howard County after time in NYC, and she wants to troll her three items all from the same restaurant. To Jean, it's a special restaurant -- Fuji on Rte 40 just west of Bethany Lane in Ellicott City.
Fuji is a "Mom and Pop" joint with a Japanese chef. It's nothing fancy, just fresh, authentic sushi and dishes that Jean says taste like Japanese home cooking. Jean says Fuji looks emptier than she remembers, and she wants to talk up the kind couple who own the place and their food:
For straightforward simple pure Japanese food, Fuji is the real deal. Its the only one with a Japanese chef (all the other ones, even Sushi Sono, are run by Chinese or Koreans). Again, there are no fancy rolls or special items, but for simple, fresh, authentic sushi and flavorful udon and teriyaki, I don't want to go anywhere else in the county personally.
The couple that runs the place is so kind and the some of the food tastes like traditional Japanese home cooking. It's not the type of place that can handle a lot of business anyway, but for it to be so empty, it really does break my heart. You should check out:
- Sushi: The platter here is the Deluxe Sushi combo, with an array of the freshest fish of the day. What I love about Fuji’s sushi is that it is pure, traditional sushi. These are authentic bite-size pieces (not the monster-slab kind some people think are the best) of buttery, melt-in-your-mouth fish. You can tell the chef has a knack for choosing the most tender cuts of the fish. The sushi rice is seasoned with the right balance of vinegar and sweetness. The rolls have a nice no-holds-barred wasabi kick to them. The variety of items perhaps isn’t the widest around, but perhaps it’s because the chef wants to stick to what’s best each day.
- Udon: The udon at the top of the post is one of my all-time favorites. You can taste the greater subtlety of flavor in the made-from-scratch dashi broth (not your typical instant salty stock served at most pseudo-Japanese places). The noodles are appropriately soft and soothing. The seafood version shown here has a delightful array of shrimp, octopus, fishcakes, and sometimes a soft-shell crab fritter. It comes out piping hot in a ceramic traditional bowl, a steaming pot of Japanese comfort food.
- Teriyaki: The homemade teriyaki BBQ sauce here is the best around. It hits the right notes of sweet and savory with its notes of smokiness and orange essence. Each plate of meat comes out on a sizzling metal dish, with a small array of broccoli and a bowl of rice. The chicken comes out with both white and dark bite-size cuts of meat; the beef is a sliced up cut of steak; and the saba (mackerel) is the most Japanese of the dishes, with its pleasantly charred crispy skin.
I haven't been to Fuji yet, although Jean's recommendations make me want to try all three of the dishes that she suggests.
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