Fuji stands tall in Hot Springs 

A small Japanese spot with big ambitions.

CAUTION: Sushi-making at work at Fuji.
  • CAUTION: Sushi-making at work at Fuji.
HOT SPRINGS — This resort town may have more good restaurants per capita than any city in this region and they cover nearly every genre. But one style, traditional Japanese with sushi, was missing until two years ago when Fuji Hibachi Steak House and Sushi Bar opened on Grand Avenue (U.S. Highway 70) east of downtown near Malvern Avenue. Fuji does a large menu of Japanese favorites very well, and it offers dozens of bargains. Other sushi bars can hit the pocketbook hard; Fuji offers all-you-can-eat sushi for $19, every day. Hibachi fans are covered with two grills and expert chefs who put on a show that wows kids and adults. Sushi experts slice and dice across the way, moving good-looking presentations of rolls and fish pieces quickly, and a few seats are available in front of the bar. A few tables around the room handle the sit-down customers. It’s not an ostentatious place, nor is it a room overcrowded with tables and chairs on top of each other. A steady stream of customers came in while we visited on a recent Saturday night, but there was never a wait for sit-down or hibachi. For a nice introduction to Japanese cooking, we suggest the Dinner Box ($17.95), which offers miso soup and a small salad for starters, a California roll, two pieces of nigiri (fish pieces and rice), three shrimp-stuffed gyoza (dumplings), shrimp and vegetable tempura, beef negimaki or teriyaki, and a side of rice and dessert (a choice of ice cream). The negamaki, which we chose with the box, is a slice of grilled beef rolled around scallions and doused with teriyaki sauce. The shrimp tempura had an interesting batter that included Japanese bread crumbs as well as flour, while the lightly fried vegetables had a light flour coating. It’s hard to find a unique miso soup (soybean broth) and here it’s no different. But every Japanese restaurant seems to invent its own ginger dressing for its salad; this one was nearly Thousand Island-like, a hint of ginger and a little thicker than what we’ve encountered elsewhere. The sushi rolls — one of our group ordered sushi as a meal with spice tuna and spicy yellowtail rolls — were no surprise, a typical presentation and taste, with the exception of the spider roll (fried soft shell crab), each piece larger than a silver dollar in circumference — we’ve seen rolls this size only once, in Las Vegas. It was worth the $8. Also, the sushi chef didn’t run the California roll through fish roe for the final, outside coating, but instead used sesame seed. The stars in the sushi/sashimi department were the fish pieces; the tuna was surprisingly fresh, bright red-pink and not the dark bloody color we often encounter. The salmon, as well, didn’t seem to have been sitting around the sushi bar very long. Another diner in our group was a traditionalist. He was happy with hibachi and typically wouldn’t dare try much sushi beyond a California roll. But he was quite happy to try to lobster teriyaki, which came with lots of lobster pieces in a rich looking sauce. After polishing that off, his “dessert” was the appetizer order of shrimp tempura, which he happily devoured. Our dessert, on the other hand, was red bean ice cream, suggested by a neighboring couple. They found it had a cherry-like taste. We’re not sure if cherry is the description, but there was definitely a berry flavor to the bean, and it was light and a nice complement to a great dinner experience. One companion bought a few pints to take home. The owner, Stephanie Jiang, and her staff dress in traditional Japanese clothing; the hibachi chefs sound like they’re building a house with all their metal work on the grills, and the sushi chef doesn’t seem to have time to stop for air. Our server was sweet, soft-spoken, helpful, a little bewildered at the late appetizer order, and pleasant, though busy as she handled every table around us. Jiang moved to Hot Springs from New York, where her family has a restaurant called Okinawa. The wine selection — mostly cheap house choices of the usual varietals — was one area that left much to be desired. There are a few Japanese beers, too. Fuji Hibachi Steak House and Sushi ????? 608 E. Grand Ave. Hot Springs 501-321-1688 Quick bite The specialty sushi rolls look and taste wonderful. Everything Japanese, from tempura to noodles (udon dishes) is available, and the prices are reasonable.Hours 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Monday through Friday; Noon.-3 p.m. Saturday Sunday; 4:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 4:30-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Other information Moderate prices. Credit cards accepted. Full bar.

From the ArkTimes store


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • City plans more spending on 30 Crossing

    The Little Rock City Board meets Tuesday to set an agenda for the following week and among the "consent" items is a new $175,000 with Nelson/Nygaard consultants to "assist with a comprehensive review" of the 30 Crossing project, otherwise known as the bigger concrete ditch the Department of Transportation wants to tear through the heart of Little Rock.
    • Sep 24, 2017
  • NFL owners rise to defense of players against Trump and false patriots

    Many football team owners have risen to the defense of players against Donald Trump criticism as yet another racially fraught issue seems likely to gain increasing heat thanks to Trump's rhetoric.
    • Sep 24, 2017
  • The school crisis at 60: A light show and light cast on the lack of progress

    The 60th school crisis anniversary observance continues with a spectacular light show and some sobering thoughts on just what was accomplished and how much progress has been made in theintervening six decades.
    • Sep 24, 2017
  • More »

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Latest in Dining Review

  • Right at the corner

    The Restaurant at the Market dishes up date-night deliciousness.
    • Sep 21, 2017
  • Tastes right

    But Brave New needs a tune-up.
    • Sep 14, 2017
  • La Ha forever

    The newly spiffed-up Mexican favorite still warms hearts, bellies.
    • Sep 7, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »


  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Right at the corner

    • Your review matches our experiences. Eric, LouAnn, and occasionally Bubba all truly make one feel…

    • on September 21, 2017

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation