The corner of 6th and Main, along the northern edge of Seattle's International District, is lined with the final holdouts of historic Japantown. What was once a specific ethnic enclave has been lumped into a general melee of global goods and grub, while Japanese food has spread throughout the city, making sushi ubiquitous in Seattle. This corner stays true to its roots, harboring aging classics like the Panama Hotel, Tsukushinbo, Maneki, and Fuji Sushi. On Mondays, the darling of the district, the century-old, but still as good as ever, Maneki takes the night off. Fuji carries on the sushi torch for that night, and they do it darn well.
Anchoring a large residential building offers awkward space to Fuji, but inside, you barely notice. The length of the dining room is balanced out by the large windows, which widen the room, making the whole place feel open and relaxed, despite its awkward emptiness early on a Monday night. As we ate, the sushi bar began to fill up, overwhelmingly with elderly Japanese people. The diners appeared quietly focused on their food, rather than conversations or cacophonies, so the light tinkle of music flowed uninterrupted. The food, much like the room, was straightforward and unadorned, quietly beautiful, serenely simple.
Fuji SushiStarting with complimentary miso soup and a little sliced cucumber, the menu offers myriad simple Japanese classics, both traditional and Americanized styles. We started with a sushi sampler, which brought with it a surprising bite. Tako, the much forlorned, often forgotten, skipped, mishandled, overcooked or otherwise rubbery, purple edged slice, was incredible. A bite yields slowly, snapping, with an al dente chew, the octopus had a subtle texture that shined above any I'd had elsewhere. A later glance at the restaurant's website showed it to be a signature dish, and certainly there is a reason.
We continued to crawl through the menu, noting the meticulous care in the removal of the eggplant's skin in our Yaki Nasu, buried beneath the waving pieces of bonito, heralding the coming of great flavor. Our server steered us toward a red snapper sashimi special that impressed us all, just one of the moments where the service was notably a step above the 'Seattle standard' to which we're all accustomed. You'll find little of the crazy rolls of Belltown's sushi style at Fuji, but even less of the crowds and noise they bring. At Fuji, the diners, like the restaurant itself, are there for peace, calm, and sushi.