When one thinks of sushi, “bargain” isn’t usually the first word that comes to mind. But, thanks to the new all-you-can-eat menu at Fuji Japanese Cuisine & Sushi Bar on Brookside, Tulsa’s business lunch and dinner crowd can get sushi that’s easy on the expense account.
The deal allows diners to eat according to appetite, not the girth of their pocketbooks. Each option serves up anyone’s fill of sushi, ranging from The Geisha, $9.99 for a first round of two rolls and subsequent rounds of one from the Select Makimono section of the sushi menu, to The Emperor, $24.95 for a selection from up to three dozen different types of rolls. No matter the order, make a point to sit at the sushi bar, where each sushi roll is handmade within grabbing distance of diners.
The price of the sushi available on the all-you-can-eat menu at Fuji belies its quality. This sushi is the real deal.
Patrons can eat their fill every day for lunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and for dinner on weekdays 5 p.m.-7 p.m. The deal was launched just after the first of the year. For now, it’s available only at the Brookside location.
“The idea behind this is to bring in traffic and attention to the restaurant,” said Jason Evans, a manager, bartender and sushi chef at Fuji. “We wanted people to come in and try us.
“It’s going over very well. We’re filling up the entire restaurant every morning for the lunch special.”
While the lunch special is great for those on a lean budget, it’s extra fun for competitive types. Before our party even arrived for lunch, bets were placed on who could best maximize the value of a food dollar by eating as many sushi rolls as the notches in his or her belt would allow. Much fun was had in trying to out-gorge each other. We tried:
California Roll (8 pc., imitation crab with avocado), $4.99 on the regular menu;
Tulsa Roll (6 pc.; fried shrimp, tuna, yellowtail and avocado), $7.50 regular;
I.R.S. (6 pc.; tuna, asparagus, cream cheese, cucumber, scallions and sprouts), $7.50 regular;
Tiger Eye (6 pc.; smoked salmon and squid, tempura fried), $8.99 regular;
Ninja (10 pc.; crab cakes, fresh salmon, cucumber, scallions, cream cheese and sesame seeds), $8.99 regular;
I.J. Roll (6 pc., fresh salmon, yellowtail, cucumber, masago, sprouts and lemon juice), $7.50 regular;
Lobster (10 pc., lobster, fried shrimp, cucumber, avocado, choice of sesame seeds or masago), $7.25 regular;
Big Willie (8 pc., avocado, cream cheese, crab, fried shrimp with a spicy drizzle of Fuji’s Evil Sauce, rolled in sesame seeds and tempura crunches), $8 regular.
While we oohed and aahed at the Brookside Fuji best-seller Big Willie Roll (which sadly isn’t available at Fuji South) and the I.J. Roll, the Tulsa Roll was an all-around favorite.
“We have many unique rolls and flavor combinations,” Evans said. “Many of those were created by the dozen sushi chefs here behind the line here at Fuji.”
We each did our best, but none could surpass the latent sushi-eating champion among us. She managed to eat four rolls, each one a different type. Her ticket, which would have been nearly $35 before tax and tip if it weren’t for the lunch special, rang up to just a bit more than $10.
For the sushi shy, Fuji offers a variety of specialty dishes, rice-based Donburi and a slew of combination choices that allow for a bite or two of the raw stuff. We tried the Gyudon ($10.99), a bowl of thinly sliced beef, onions, bell peppers, carrots and clear noodles served on a bed of steamed rice. It was gone before anyone had a chance to put in an order for a second round of sushi.
Another ordered the Tilapia Filet ($13.99). While she raved about the quality of the fish and the hot, crisp tempura vegetables served on the side, she wasn’t happy with her choice to have it cooked Teriyaki-style. She complimented Fuji’s California Roll, which she ordered a la carte.
Fuji offers several appetizers, most on the approachable and familiar side. We tried the Calamari, fried light and crispy in Japanese bread crumbs, and the Crab Cakes, which were pleasantly spicy thanks to a touch of jalapeno.
Our waitress was very well-versed on the menu, and her recommendations were spot-on. Her friendliness and speed were of much use to us as we learned just how much sushi we could eat in an hour and a half.
Fuji Chef Nobu Terauchi opened the first Fuji location, at 8226 E. 71st St., in 1986. The Brookside location, which features a full bar complete with a selection of nearly two dozen varieties of sake and several Japanese beers, opened about four years ago.
Though we could go just about anywhere on Brookside for better ambience, our party of six couldn’t think of a better value in town for sushi. Fuji would be a great place to take the work crowd when a change is needed in the weekly lineup of lunch spots. It’s also a great hideout for a group of co-workers looking to simply relax after finishing that big project at the office. We spotted a few of the local good-to-know types, but the dining room, which seats about 130, wasn’t exactly overrun with people on the typical must-impress list. So, go ahead; at Fuji, it’s okay to stuff yourself. ?