Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Birthday Celebrated!

In the birthday girl's own words:

"I had a wonderful Birthday!"

"We went to church this morning, than I had a nap and a bath with a bath fizzie my mom made. (It was pink, smelled like peppermint and had dried mint stuck in it.)"

"At six I had made reservations at a Japanese restaurant for the Habichi Tables, (we've never done that before.) It was so much fun watching our chef fry stuff up in the middle of the table."

"Afterwords we came home to a Coldstone Creamery cake with devils food cake, chocolate mint ice cream and fudge ganace."

"With cake like that who couldn't have a good day?"

"Thank you all so much for your wishes and prayers, I really appreciate them!"

For another view (mine) of this exuberant celebration - herewith:

1. This was NOT a meal - it was performance art with food! The chef whirls his spatulas, ignites a "volcano" made of onion rings, "launches" shrimp or rice balls from his spatula at the mouths of willing patrons (like throwing food to a dog - Mossflower and Jean failed, Rob - see below - caught his expertly) and generally keeps up a patter of conversation for the 1/2 hour it takes to grill the food for 8 people.

The atmosphere - party-like due to whoops and cheers as well as applause for the chefs' performances (there are at least 4 of them cooking simultaneously). It is LOUD to say the least. But at least it isn't due to bad music - just celebratory families and friends having a good time fueled by lots of food, fun, and of course, plenty of alcohol (though none of our family consumed alcoholic beverages).

2. If you don't like Fried Rice, don't go to this restaurant! The fried rice was perpared on the grill in the center of the "table" that seats 8 (our 6 plus Rob and Holly from up near Sugar Loaf who came down to Portland for shopping and entertainment). The steamed rice portion I got in a very small bowl was miserly compared with the generous servings of fried rice grilled at the table.

3. I did not recognize anything on the menu except Sierra Mist (which I got) and steamed rice. Everything else was very, very foreign.

I believe that I was served Miso soup as an appetizer - fortunately for me, tofu sinks so I ladled the broth off the top and left the 6 or so very small pieces of tofu to their well-deserved fate in the bottom of the bowl.

We also had some kind of noodles that came with some vegetables mixed in and grilled - my wife ended up with a serving nearly twice the size of mine.

We also had a vegetarian veggie assortment that was grilled which had carrots (I did not get ANY carrots in my very meager serving - all the women got much more than I did), zucchini squash slices, celery, onions and I recognized the spine of chinese cabbage diced up and grilled.

3. The place settings contained a large plate (mine never got more than 1/2 the surface used) and a set of paper wrapped chop sticks, which I did not open. We had to request a fork for me twice before one finally appeared 20 minutes after the first request. I entertained myself watching the chef perform and sipping my soup in the interim. We also had to request the rice that was supposed to be included with my meal - they ASSUMED that I was having fried rice (can't stand eggs that are visible in any way or that can be tasted individually) I guess.

4. The house salad was good but miniscule.

I had plenty to eat but thought that the service left considerable to be desired. I wished that I had Sarah to guide me through the menu, though my daughters, who have been there before, basically decided what I could eat. They also had veggie sushi and some other (? Tempura?) type of veggie stuff that I didn't even attempt.

It was a VERY educational evening and well enjoyed by all. Had it not been Mossflower's birthday, I wouldn't have gone at all. But I am currently in the process of listening to Ruth Reichl's book Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise she likes this type of food so I had a bit of a hint what might be coming before we went.

Great night. Food - not what I would have selected to eat but we were with family and I survived and was well over nourished and at least I can now say I have 'been there' and 'done that.' Presentation - very good. Service - fair at best (we waited 40 minutes for seating, and 30 minutes after our scheduled table time), the server (though I thought she was somewhat cute) was not real attentive (tips are "automatically included in your bill").

Fuji Restaurant: 2 1/2 stars


At 4:01 PM, Blogger Sunny said...

(tips are "automatically included in your bill").
That could explain some of the poor service.

At 9:02 PM, Blogger Gail said...

'Tis a shame about the service and meagre portions for you. I hope this doesn't put you off Japanese restaurants in general; there are many regional styles of Japanese cuisine (izakaya is my favourite: small dishes like Spanish tapas with simple ingredients) and it's not all fried.


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