Overall, I wasn’t terribly impressed with Fuji Yama’s 17th Avenue SW location. Not to say that it was bad – it just wasn’t ‘good’ either. If you’re in the area there are a few other sushi places within a 20 minute walk that I would recommend instead.
The Devinish building
I was running early to visit a friend, so decided to pop into Fuji Yama’s 17th Avenue SW location. The restaurant is located in the former home of Kyoto 17, which holds fond memories; being the first place I ever tasted sushi.
The location has been significantly redecorated, removing the levels, (along with the cute little private booths that I love for small group gatherings) and opening up the space considerably. In the center is still the sushi bar (where the chef prepares the sushi), and down the hall there is still the bar/ lounge. I was seated against a wall though, and although the space felt more open and airy, where I was sitting was still rather dark.
I ordered a Grasshopper roll, which is one of their weekly specials (sort of- you can get them on the pencil- in menu each day for the same price…) along with pieces of my two favorites; special scallop battleship and Ikura (salmon roe) battleships. The Grasshopper roll features scallop, mango, avocado, cucumber, red tobiko (flying fish roe), mentaiko (pollock roe, which I don’t think I’ve ever had before), and mayonnaise.
Grasshopper roll - not very tasty, but definitly pretty!
The Grasshopper roll, well, it wasn’t good in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, it was prepared well; the mango was soft and flavorful, the rice was firm, and the avocado was perfect too- but somehow it all didn’t come together well. There was also a flavor that at times was tart or sour, or maybe spicy, that didn’t work for me; the waitress later told me that it was a Cajun spice that I was tasting. With the mellow rice, avocado and scallop, it wasn’t flavorful enough to enhance the roll but instead was distracting. The cucumber shared that mellow flavor, but had a crunch that I didn’t find appealing in this particular roll. The mayonnaise was drizzled artfully over the top, but really just tasted like mayo – it didn’t accentuate the roll at all. If you decide to try this roll, I would suggest it’s better without the soya sauce.
I think that if the menu had indicated the ‘Cajun spice’ in the Grasshopper roll I would have skipped this one to begin with. The overall effect was an attempt at sushi-fusion, but ended up just being disappointing.
The Ikura was just… Ok. I was expecting bright, shimmering jewels, eggs that were firm but popped in my mouth with bursts of salty flavor, but instead the eggs were dull and somewhat soft. There was just the tiniest hint of cloudiness on some of them, leading me to believe they may not have been as fresh as I am accustomed to. Again, there was nothing ~wrong~ with my Ikura – the battleship was well balanced (I know some places fill them up with rice and only put a thin layer of roe on top) and firm enough to not fall apart (though the eggs might have been ‘packed’ in more firmly), and the rice was nice – but overall it was underwhelming.
The special scallop battleship sushi was definitely the best selection. The scallop was smooth – firm without being chewy, and there was just enough tobiko and mayonnaise to blend it all together. My only ‘complaint’ would be that it looked so … blah. Perhaps it was just bad lighting (I was up against the dark wall) or the colour of the tobiko was so pale, but it didn’t look nearly as good as it tasted.
Overall, I found the portion sizes a bit small for the cost of the individual roll and battleship-style sushi pieces. The costs were on par with what I’d pay elsewhere, but the portion sizes were a little bit smaller. What I think should have cost about 20$, was 31$ with tax and tip. According to UrbanSpoon posts, there is a Dealfind coupon, which although requires a coupon, might have improved upon the price.
However the service was prompt, helpful, attentive, and friendly. When I was in there it was 5 or 5:30 on a Wednesday evening, and I was one of only two tables (that I could see) dining. Blogger Food Mamma also appreciated the good service – you can read more on her blog!
One nice thing about Fuji Yama – they’re one of the few sushi places that actually has a decent online presence, along with a partial menu. Click this link to see their menu.
Visit Fuji Yama in the basement of the Devinish building (enter through the back)
908 17 Avenue SW
Tel: (403) 245-3854 Fax: (403) 245-3852