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Care for a side of psychedelia with your sushi roll?
Slide all the way down the rabbit hole at Williamsburg’s supersized (6,200 square feet) outsized (260 seat) and over-the-top outpost of Fushimi, the pan-Asian restaurant, lounge, and exercise-in-sensory-overload first popularized in Staten Island and Bay Ridge.
“I actually think it’s kind of subdued,” said our hostess, as she led us past a pair of preening Geisha girls flanking the front entrance, floor-to-ceiling “jellyfish” chandeliers shadowing the day-glow bar, and LED illuminated dining area — dotted with pod-like booths and tabletops of glistening colored resin cast with Japanese river stones.
“I feel like I’m in the final scene of 2001: A Space Odyssey,” observed our photographer as we wandered down the “Tunnel of Love” — an eye-popping circular pathway to the unisex bathrooms lit in intergalactic red. “This place is looks like a Tokyo casino financed by the Italian Mafia.”
The strange journey continued through Chef Chul Kee Ko’s globe-hopping menu, with stops in Thailand (spicy lobster salad with crushed peanuts, mint and cilantro), Japan (sea bass with miso and a “Sex on the Beach” roll with tempura shrimp, spicy tuna, salmon and avocado), France (petit filet mignon with wasabi butter and truffled mashed potatoes, herb-crusted rack of lamb with Dijon mustard and crab confit), and even Italy (seared sea scallops with pesto, cauliflower, black beans and mushrooms — not the magic kind.) A little something for everyone! Kind of.
One would imagine that the aesthetic shock-value of the space paired with a catch-as-catch-can menu is a play to put butts in the seats which, on opening night, at least, appears to be working.
Rubbernecking locals mingled with pant-suited moms looking for a hot night out — along with crowds and couples from Bay Ridge and Staten Island, angling for a peek at the competition.
“I’m actually a regular at the Fushimi in my neighborhood,” said Bay Ridge resident Mike Vittorio. “I love the food, the ambiance — it’s always a party. But this one — wow, it’s like a whole other level.”
“I work in Manhattan, so it’s easier to grab dinner in Williamsburg,” he added. “I can come here to unwind after a long day.”
Not like anyone’s going to mistake Fushimi for a casual neighborhood joint, or any kind of authentic — but sometimes, all you really want is a kooky sushi roll, a decent lychee martini, and a sweeet contact high.
Fushimi [475 Driggs Ave. between 10th and 11th Streets in Williamsburg, (718) 963-2555].
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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