As a major fanatic of Asian cuisine, I was excited to hear about the addition of Fuji to Grand Forks. Not quite as excited as I was for the Drunken Noodle (which by the way opens today), but I love Teppanyaki style restaurants. I know of no other offering like Fuji in the greater Grand Forks region – correct me if I’m wrong.
For those of you who are not familiar with Teppanyaki, it is a style of Japanese cuisine that is cooked on an iron griddle. The flavor of the food, of course, is not to be outdone by the humor and talent of the chef. But, a close competition between the two is nice.
I went to Fuji for lunch. This is a great time to go if you want the same show and portion of food for less money. But, from my experience at other Teppanyaki restaurants the nighttime atmosphere can’t be beat. It’s great for celebrations.
One of the nice things I noticed about Fuji right off the bat is that you can choose to sit at one of the grills, or you can have a nice quiet business lunch or intimate dinner alone in a booth. Be warned – if you choose Teppanyaki and you don’t have a full table you WILL be seated with strangers… so bring a sense of humor and leave the cold shoulder at home.
Now because I went to Fuji for lunch, I didn’t get to sample the wide array of Sake and wine the restaurant has to offer so that will be another day. However, I was extremely pleased with the food and the presentation. Even for lunch, you get a full course meal including soup, grilled vegetables, the best fried rice I’ve found in North Dakota and meat of your choice. (You can also choose to have noodles or upgrade your meat for a small price.) I tasted chicken, steak and scallops. Both the chicken and steak were cooked perfectly and I appreciated the flavor of the meats. I think often times meat can be over-seasoned, but this was not the case at Fuji. And the scallops!!! I’m not a big scallop fan, generally because they are so easy to overcook and can taste rubbery. But, the chefs at Fuji cook a scallop just right. The texture and the flavor were perfect. And don’t forget the yummy sauce. I think every Teppanyaki restaurant I’ve been to calls this light pink sauce either yummy sauce or yum yum sauce. Once you taste it, you’ll know why. I’ve been told it’s some kind of shrimp sauce… I don’t care what it is, take my advice and put it on everything. The portions are huge too! I ate until I was full and still had a whole box of leftovers, which I didn’t mind. Go hungry.
The cook at my grill had a very dry sense of humor and it was kind of like watching a Disney or Pixar film geared toward adults. He would say things that would fly right over a child’s head or in one ear and out the other, but would definitely catch the attention of adults and make you laugh. (I’ll spare you the details… I’m guessing they use a lot of their jokes over again?) But, I will say that I caught a piece of broccoli in my mouth that he flipped up into the air. It only took two tries. Annnnd he sprayed me in the face with water.
Overall I give Fuji two thumbs up and five stars. I hope the restaurant can continue the same quality and service it provided upon opening. Also, Drunken Noodle will have to work hard to make its “Teppanyaki Platter” dish anything but standard. I’m excited to visit Fuji again to have the opportunity to try the sushi and Sake. (I’ve heard the sushi is excellent… it was all the talk with the ladies at the gym today.)