Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Fuji East Japanese Bistro - Not Roosevelt Island's Momofuku but Maybe One Day Dosanko




This past weekend was the Grand Opening of the Fuji East Japanese Bistro. I received the following favorable message about Roosevelt Island's newest and much anticipated restaurant from a reader.

We ordered takeout and the sushi roll was great- large portion of fish with not too much rice. They even gave us Japanese barley tea while we were waiting. They seemed very organized for having just opened. I like Nonno's a lot, but they always seem to not get my take out orders just right (missing salad dressing, eggs not done the way I ordered them, I think just still working out kinks) and I don't remember getting a receipt from them ever the first few weeks.
The reader was also:
very impressed by the new restaurant. great service, good food and amazing decor. great date place.
it is the same owner as china one but he owns a upscale successful japanese place in astoria. he actually tried to make china one more authentic and upscale many years back but he didn't do enough business, so he went back to take out!
we were worried about what that would mean for this place, but he's done a very nice job!
I am certainly happy to hear such a positive review. I walked by Fuji East on Saturday afternoon and spoke with random customers leaving the restaurant who also had a good experience.

Unfortunately, my group did not have such a good Grand Opening experience later that evening and neither did most of the other customers dining there at the same time. The service was poor and the food came out of the kitchen cold although the manager did her best to salvage the situation. Several groups at tables got tired of waiting to be served simply got up and left the restaurant. Others waiting to pay their checks grew frustrated at the amount of time it took. Also, the incessant ringing of the phone was very disturbing as was the loud, very un-Japanese like, Christine Aguillara (I think) music video blaring from the large screen TV on the wall above our table. Particularly disappointing was the experience of 4 young twentysomething women sitting at the adjoining table who were very excited at the prospect of the new restaurant, liked it's decor, one even said she got dressed up for the occasion, but ultimately left because they were ignored and never even asked for their order.

It was readily apparent from the people in the restaurant on Saturday night (it was full) that despite this experience, their is a huge pent up demand and great desire for more good, or at least above average, dining options on Roosevelt Island. They desperately want Fuji East to succeed - as I do. I don't think Roosevelt Islanders are expecting Momofuku (though that would be great) but even a Dosanko like experience would be welcomed. I encourage all Roosevelt Islanders to give Fuji East a fair chance over the next few months. It's in our interest to do so.

33 comments :

Anonymous said...

What is the name of the alleged upscale Japanese restaurant in Astoria?

Anonymous said...

Why does EVERY business here have to aim for the lowest level? There are plenty of inexpensive restaurants in Queens that still manae to provide good food.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with hoping for Momofuku? Why do we need only the the most basic neightborhod joints like Trellis and China One and now Fuji East? It may come as a surprise, but people actually travel to go to a good restaurant. Maybe if the professional Roosevelt Islanders weren't so obsessed with the concept of our "community," we would have a chance of getting better restaurants, at least in the newer spaces that are strangled by NY State regulations.

I grant that the on-going subway work makes it difficult at present.

Anonymous said...

I am optimistic that this new restaurant will work the kinks out. Any new team of people working together needs time to coordinate and figure things out. The location and captive patrons on the Island are a recipe for a successful food business. If only I liked Japanese food.

Also, I might add, I am optimistic that the newly elected board will follow a common sense plan to comply with the state regulations by leasing all the space on Main Street to an single operator. At least one of the elected board members understands the issues and has written about the issues in the WIRE.

Anonymous said...

Correction to 2:19 post: It should read, "not strangled by NY State regulations."

Anonymous said...

I had a late lunch yesterday and was pleasantly surprised by the the attractive decor, attentive service and pretty good pork donburi, which arrived at the table hot and not oversalted, but a little heavy on the breading.

The sound has been turned off the soft-porn video tape mentioned above, but it would be far better for the restaurant to remove the screen altogether. It's not a sports bar.

This is by far the best food option on the island and I hope it will get even better. It's hard for me to believe that if it's true that the owner also owns China 1, that, it too can't be improved. The bulk of the business at China 1 seems to be for items like fried chicken that have nothing to do with a Chinese restaurant The place could still offer that kind of food (there's anything wrong with fried chicken) as well as provide a better Chinese food experience for those who want it. At it stands now, there are only one or two dishes I consider ordering. I'm sure I'm not the only resident who would use the place more if the food were better.

SouthTownTony said...

Congrats both to Nonno's and Fuji East. Although I haven't eaten at Fuji East, not by choice but by being ignored the first time I walked in at around 2pm. After a while a walked out. They should have the building staff at 425 Main St. come and teach them a few things or two about customer service. I will be going back to taste some food. The TV should stay. They just need to choose better music. And please don't do like Nonno's and played outdated Italian music videos over, and over, and, over again. We have a very diverse group of residents here. Just put NY1 news for the time being and maybe an update or two about the transportation on the island. Fuji-East will do good with a little bit of work. Nonno's is trying their best but sometimes their choice of employees, kids, is not that great, especially when what appears to be on of the owners is constantly yelling at them.

Anonymous said...

The name of the ok place in LIC is Wasabi Boy, they were on Jackson Avenue, but they moved and there isn't a forwarding number. If anyone can get the number, we can actually have choices rather than one option to choose from. BTW...Nonnos hasn't gotten my order right either, and the pizza just doesn't cut the mustard.

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