Lovers of sushi and hibachi are undoubtedly familiar with the clear soup that precedes an entrée. I’m a big fan of clear soup, so it’s no surprise that I’m also a fan of any place that lets me eat exorbitant amounts of it. Take a moment and ponder the delicious possibilities of unlimited soup servings. That’s right: unlimited. FUJI SUSHI keeps my bowl full with its $10.99 eat-all-you-want lunch menu.
There are three locations – Mandarin, Southside and San Marco, my personal stomping grounds. Fuji Sushi should not be confused with similarly named sushi joints around Northeast Florida; others can try but Fuji Sushi is the gold standard.
The primary order of business at San Marco’s Fuji Sushi is deciding what should be brought out first. Salad, sushi, or noodles? At Fuji Sushi, you have a choice. Fill out the order sheet at your table by writing the numbers that correspond to the menu item. The lunch menu is limited to select dishes (dinner has more options). Even without a full menu, there’s still plenty to choose.
I started with – you guessed it – clear soup, along with a ginger salad, veggies, noodles, a sweet potato roll, and the green dragon sushi roll. It sounds like a ton of food for a first course, but the portions are perfectly sized. Fuji is serious about not wasting anything, which I appreciate. The fine print on the ordering forms threatens a fee for uneaten items. I seriously doubt that anyone has ever been fined, but be sure to clean your plate.
For those who aren’t as obsessed with the joys of hot, translucent liquids as I am, let me describe it. It’s a simple broth with crunchy bits of tempura on top. Salty and addictive. I slurped this in a few seconds and moved on to buttery noodles, then the sushi. A sweet potato sushi roll sounds a bit strange, but it’s one of my favorites. This is potato at its best: crunchy and fried. Dip it into a bit of soy sauce and … yum. The green dragon roll has a sliver of avocado over a shrimp tempura roll. It pairs perfectly with a mixture of my creation, soy sauce, wasabi, and ginger dressing. You can call it “The Gibson Dippin’.”
My second round of lunch included another clear soup and a spicy shrimp tempura hand roll. It was my first hand roll and I loved it. Rather than rice wrapped around seaweed, this had seaweed on the outside. I didn’t think that would alter the flavor until I took the first bite. The seaweed definitely popped, giving the cone-shaped roll a salty, distinctly seafood-y taste.
At a typical sushi place, I’ll end up paying around $15 for two rolls, soup, and salad. Fuji Sushi is less expensive, and the possibilities are nearly limitless. Swing by at lunchtime, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m., and try something new. You’ll be pleasantly surprised, and certainly full. Don’t forget to follow my lead and get a bowl – or four – of you-know-what before you leave.