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Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013

Fushimi: All You Can Eat Sushi

Pleasant ambiance and good value

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The recently opened Fushimi Sushi Buffet is a restaurant where you may want to linger for a while. It’s located in a place where chicken wings were once sold and, happily, the new interior is unrecognizable. Just off the entry is a pleasant full bar that specializes in sake. The next room has tables with comfortable chairs and a long buffet featuring Japanese seafood. In back is a sushi bar and party room; it’s also possible to enter the restaurant in the back from the parking lot.

The walls are of decorative stone and imitation cherry blossoms are everywhere. The sushi menu has no prices. You chose the sushi you’d like to eat—each freshly prepared— and it is included in the all-you-can-eat price. Lunches are $12.95 and dinners are $20.95 to $23.95. The dinner buffet has more menu options, including sashimi, hand rolls and gunkan maki in a seaweed wrapper. The higher dinner price is for Friday and Saturday, when crab legs are added to the buffet. The lunches include a decent nigiri sushi selection and a wide variety rolled sushis. Half of these are specialty rolls, which at other Japanese restaurants would cost almost as much as the entire lunch here. Order the sushi immediately, as it will take at least 15 to 20 minutes to arrive. Then it’s off to the buffet table.

The buffet is divided into hot and cold sections. The hot area includes miso and vegetable tofu soup as starters and an assortment of appetizers and entrées. Look for the gyoza; the white ones are meat-filled and the green are vegetarian. There always seem to be vegetarian spring rolls. Most days lemon chicken, sesame chicken or chicken teriyaki is available. There are always several seafood choices. Perhaps there will be baked oysters, the half-shells filed with minced meat and breadcrumbs. Or perhaps you will find blue mussels in a light cream sauce, or even a triple delight dish combining shrimp with squid and imitation crab. There is also tempura with the batter holding up better than expected at a steam table.

The cold buffet has iceberg lettuce with ginger dressing and maybe a seaweed salad. One visit included a decent jellyfish salad flavored with sesame oil and a dash of hot pepper flakes. Also, there are plenty of edamame. But show some restraint at the buffet as the sushi is on the way.

The nigiri sushi arrives with seafood toppings of a proper size, unlike those restaurants that tend to super-size the slices of fish. The tai (red snapper) is fresh in flavor, as is the hokkigai (surf clam). It’s a surprise to see hotategai (scallop) on the menu, as it is one of the more expensive sushis. The lunch menu offers spider maki whose main ingredient is soft shell crab in tempura batter. One more visit to the buffet is in order for some dessert—the jumbo fresh strawberries are simply too appealing.

The servers do a good job and you will never have the feeling that you are being rushed out of a table. Beverages are an additional charge. The wine list is modest and comes only by the glass, but beer and sake seem more appropriate here anyway. The bar is perfect for an after-dinner drink. The buffet has its ups and downs, but the sushi lover will not find a better deal in this town.

Fushimi Japanese Sushi & Seafood Buffet
2116 N. Farwell Ave.
414-270-1918 and -1908
$$-$$$
Handicapped access: yes
fushimi88.com

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