In Japan there is a certain affinity for diligence and dedication to perfecting even the tiniest details. One can sense that this tradition has travelled a long distance, passed through the doors, and landed on the tables of the newest Japanese eatery in Tel Aviv, Fu Sushi. After spending years in Japan, co-owner and restaurateur Noam, relished the pride that the Japanese have for even the slightest of things. This Japanese philosophy is the driving force behind every element in Fu Sushi; from the service, to the decor, to the chopsticks placed on river stones at the table, and finally to each delectable dish. Diners are presented with a clear message, details matter!
The celebration of beauty in Japanese tradition, Shibui, is based on a type of beauty that doesn’t need announcement – being beautiful without looking like you’ve tried. The sight of understated elegance as one enters Fu Sushi, thanks to the work of famed Israeli interior designer, Yaron Tal (www.YaronTal.com), epitomizes Shibui. The ingenuity in the design makes this small sushi restaurant look much larger than it actually is. Starting with the dark oak bar with a view of a large glass window adorned by bottles of alcohol placed on slants, continuing behind the glass window, which provides sneaks and peaks into the kitchen. At a nook in the corner sits a long and heavy oak table surrounded by vintage- floral wallpaper adorned with pink, blue, and red flowers. The table is almost out of place, yet completely harmonious with the modern elements. The server showers you with impeccable and efficient service in a uniform of black embellished with a Japanese style wrap. Everything is Japanese yet nothing is “kitschy.” A nod to another cherished value in Japan, balance.
Fu Sushi displays a balance of modern and zen, of preserving Japanese history while staying true to the culture and tastes of Tel Aviv, and most importantly of culinary balance. I have yet to try a sushi place in Israel that offers such a fresh array of dishes and rolls with such moderate prices and this is not an exaggerated point. The fish at Fu is never frozen and delivered fresh daily. Without the words on the page, one needs to only take a bite to affirm the point. It’s the foundation of the restaurant for which the owner, Rotem, is rightfully proud.
Each dish is prepared by chef Leon, who was professionally trained in both Japan and Thailand and is adroit in Asian culinary technique. This technique, enhanced by an established palate, assists Leon in creating dishes which begin as a marvel to the eyes and end with delight to your mouth. He displays a true understanding of the importance of textures, beauty, and flavors. The first courses include a range of soups, gyozas, and carpaccios. The shrimp gyozas, a personal favorite of mine, are made with steamed wontons filled with baby shrimp and spices. The gyozas are lightly pan fried, both soft and crunchy and full of flavor without being overbearing. The salmon carpaccio, hands down one of the best dishes on the menu, slithers of luscious salmon sashimi, topped with a foamy texture of avocado salsa, mixed with tiny bits of green peppers. You do not want to miss this one!
The sushi, while also inventive, manages to stay true to tradition. Exemplified in the Unagi Roll, made with cooked eel and in addition to the traditional garnishes, topped with toasted sesame seeds and lightly drizzled homemade eel sauce that is less sweet and a bit more tangy. The Crunch Roll, chef Leon’s favorite, is filled with a spicy tuna that is so fresh, the fat in the fish creates an almost creamy texture balancing the rush of spice. The roll is surrounded by panko flakes then wrapped with seaweed, covered with rice, and topped with tobiko, bursting with an unbelievable flavor that does not compromise refinement. The Volcano Roll consists of a ball of rice, surrounded by fresh salmon and topped with a spicy salmon salad. All rolls are accompanied by a trio of house made spicy dips: a green parsely and cilantro sauce, a spicy red pepper sauce, and finally the spicy mayo, made with a homemade mayonnaise and spicy peppers.
The exquisite wine list includes a pinot from Vatkin Winery, one of the best in Israel, as well as an extensive selection of spirits. After dinner you just might want to hang out at this hip Tel Aviv spot for a unique cocktail. The house favorite, called 10% of Love, is a sharp yet delectable drink made with Absolute Pear Vodka, Lemon and Chartreuse. At the end of your meal the server presents you with a hot hand towel culminating this experience. At the end you realize that dining at Fu is more than just meal, it’s an experience made up of an innumerable amount of brilliant details presented by the newest a freshest faces of the Tel Aviv dining scene.