Review No. 48: Fuji Japanese Steak House
1260 Old Morrilton Hwy
26.7 percent finished reviewing Conway restaurants
He Said: Conway’s oldest Japanese restaurant has been one of our go-to eateries for more than a decade, but we haven’t been there for some time, since we are committed to visiting every Conway restaurant and don’t have openings for a lot of extra meals out. But realizing we have never reviewed Fuji Japanese Steak House as part of this “Eat It, Conway!” project, we saw an opportunity and grabbed it.
She Said: This is definitely a comfort-food, relaxing go-to restaurant for us. We used to get the food a lot to go, because if you call when they open at 4:30 p.m., UCA employees getting off at that time, which is what my husband used to be, can get there just when it’s ready to go and bring it home to you to put in your belly. We don’t do that anymore, either, so it was time for us to return to one of our regular haunts for a hefty Sunday mid-day meal.
He Said: Fuji has a new sign, which spruces up the outside a bit. The inside has been spruced a bit too, it seemed to me, with some new art on the walls. This may have come with what appears to be new management in the restaurant since we last ate here.
You have a choice to sit in a table or booth in the front room, or sit around a Hibachi grill in the back and watch a Hibachi chef put on a show. She Said and I like our privacy when dining and always opt for a booth in the front near the bar.
She Said: Yeah, Ruud and I are far too introverted to sit at a table in a restaurant with people we don’t know! We only do that in foreign countries where we don’t speak the language and won’t have to talk to strangers. But the booths are pretty comfy-cozy here, and I like how dark this place is. With the water features, dark colors and music, it is a really soothing place to go for a romantic date night or social time with friends.
He Said: I always have the green tea here. I figure that’s the natural beverage to have with Japanese food, and I’m not going to mess with what God ordained. The green tea here is nice, and comes in a very Japanese teapot and cup. You need to let it steep for awhile or it’s going to be pretty weak. Unless, of course, that’s how you like it, in which case drink up right away!
She Said: I skip Ruud’s green tea and go for something from the bar. I’ve had cosmopolitans here, but in the past, they haven’t been my favorite in town. They have two brands of cabernet sauvignon, so I will choose one of those, and may have more than one glass.
He Said: We ordered two appetizers to share: a bowl of edamame and a seaweed salad. The edamame was done just right, and was not too salty. I tried the seaweed salad because She Said believes it to be a magic food, with all kinds of health benefits. I’m sure it is, but I wasn’t keen on the texture of it. I’m sure if you like seaweed salad, it was fine. I wasn’t going to write home about it.
If you are a regular reader of this blog you will not be surprised that I ordered the Hibachi Salmon. This includes two pieces of salmon grilled on the Hibachi, with a healthy helping of fried rice and stir-fried vegetables. It comes with a green salad with a very tasty ginger dressing. The salmon is smothered in a sweet sauce which complements the very tender salmon perfectly, and the rice and veggies are excellent. I usually add a bit of soy sauce, which the Japanese would probably consider gauche of me, but hey, I like it that way.
She Said: You gotta do you, Ruud! Get down with your soy-self! I don’t really look much at the menu anymore, but it’s large, with lots of choices, including bento boxes, tons of sushi and hibachi options and lunch specials. Yes, I was happy to share the “super food” seaweed salad with you because it is delicious, gorgeous and very healthy. I have gotten used to the texture, and I love the taste of it, which includes a little heat with the red pepper flakes and a delicious light oil dressing and sesame seeds. It’s one of my favorite dishes to devour in all of Conway. I also love the edamame here, and we share it every time we dine in or carry out at Fuji.
For my entrée, which I was not sharing, I chose the tamago, or egg-omelet sushi and then I went all out food-crazy with the super crunchy roll, another one of my favorite things in offer in any Conway restaurant. This is a (very Southern) deep-fried sushi roll with salmon, avocado and cream cheese. This is an extravaganza of all my favorite things fried and served in a beautiful pyramid of deliciousness. Like He Said’s dish, this comes in its own sauce, but I sometimes will add a bit of soy sauce, too. I can’t eat the whole roll anymore, but I always bring it home and enjoy the rest of it another day. It stays tasty. This is the first place I ever ate one of my other favorite foods, the slightly sweet little egg omelets bound with seaweed to small beds of rice. Always a pleaser. Fuji never lets me down.
He Said: The service was courteous and unobtrusive. She Said’s sushi, as always, arrived when it was dang good and ready. My salmon came a few minutes later. We got what we ordered, we got it in a timely manner, the server checked on us but didn’t bug us.
She Said: We didn’t have our usual server who knows I like a glass (or two) of red wine with my dinner, but I’ve never had anything but friendly, proficient, professional service at any of our dine-in experiences at Fuji.
What We Got and What We Paid: One order of edamame, one seaweed salad, one super crunchy roll, one egg sushi, one hibachi salmon entrée, one green tea, and two glasses Clos Du Bois Cabernet (these were $8.50 each), all for $67.66.
He Said: I love the salmon and I love the rice and veggies that come with it. Wash it down with some green tea, and you’ve got an excellent Japanese dinner.
She Said: There’s a reason this place has been in our regular rotation since it opened, even with all the competition that’s sprouted over the years. You may want to make it part of your restaurant life in Conway, too.
So…He Said and She Said: Go here for delicious and imaginative Japanese food, with a full bar and professional service, every time.