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HomeNewsArchivesFUJIYAMA: FUN, FILLING, FLAVORFUL FOOD

FUJIYAMA: FUN, FILLING, FLAVORFUL FOOD

Ambiance: *****
Food: *****
Service: ****
Value: *****
Fujiyama / Norre Gade / $$ (early bird specials) / 714-2247
Fujiyama has recently initiated an early bird menu. This ploy brings the price of dinner down to the $13 to $20 range, which will probably attract many locals. It is especially appealing to those of us on fixed incomes, and four of us decided to give it a try.
Fujiyama is housed in the old Oriental Gardens digs across from the Cable and Wireless Building that now houses C.E. Brathwaite Insurance and John Foster Real Estate. The floor of the establishment is tastefully paved in patio tiles, and the main room is dominated by a fish pond 8 to 10 feet across well done in blue bitch stone with a stone column in the middle. There are half a dozen cooking stations and a series of tables in the sushi bar area. The bar is well stocked.
The early bird concept is evidently new, as the specials are not carried on the menu, but posted on a small bulletin board just inside the doorway. The night we dined there, they had grouper, chicken and salmon, and chicken and shrimp. The sushi bar has a regular early bird special of two sushi orders for the price of one.
I decided on the chicken and salmon and also ordered the matsu soup. When given the bill, I found the soup was not part of the special. Despite the misunderstanding, I didn't mind. I have always respected the oriental ability to take a little of this and a little of that and produce an extremely flavorful product. While $2 might seem a bit much for a cup of broth, it is quality broth, and I do recommend the soup regardless of which menu you choose.
Dining at a Fujiyama cooking station is as much entertainment as feeding. The young men twirl, juggle and otherwise perform with great elan and pride in their craft. The fried rice becomes much more interesting when the prep includes a full-scale show complete with spinning egg, shell extraction and flip, and salt cellar juggle complete with hat catch. You will understand the jargon when you catch the act.
There is a most important codicil: If you are interested in watching your salt, you must mention it immediately upon meeting with your chef. The young men have several tricks with the salt cellar, and the food can become very well seasoned.
To my taste, the fish was just on the edge of being overcooked but is still nice and tender. The vegetables were crisp with a pleasant oriental sauce apparently based on sesame.
I tasted my food immediately upon receiving each portion from the grill, as the flavors change as the food cools. (I learned my lesson at one unforgettable meal where I ordered rack of lamb. The lamb was delivered to the table looking luscious, but I mistakenly waited to be served my side dishes. Unfortunately, the server quickly covered the lamb with veggies and potatoes, obliterating its succulence.)
At Fujiyama, the sides of ginger sauce and sesame sauce are nice and light, which make them complementary to the flavor of the fish. The chicken is cooked in what becomes a thick garlic sauce and really tickles the palette when dredged through the ginger.
The dining room is spacious and cool notwithstanding all the cooking stations. With a good crowd, the atmosphere becomes convivial. The restrooms are clean and well stocked.
Good food, pleasing decor, staff wearing interesting garb, entertainment and prices most of us can pay without too much pain: Fujiyama's early bird is highly recommended.
Editors' note: The Tottering Taster is a senior citizen who enjoys good food and dines in a different St. Thomas restaurant each week to bring you a totally unsolicited assessment biased in favor of an ultimate experience. We are using a pseudonym so restaurant personnel will not be able to identify the reviewer and perhaps try to influence the review.

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