When we first moved to the neighborhood, my husband and I drove past Fujiyama and he said “we should try this place sometime”. And I immediately said “Why? It’s in a strip mall! Next to a Kroger….it can’t be that good” But after our first visit, we’ve never looked for vegetarian sushi anywhere else. I’ve been loyal to Fujiyama for years now.
Chef Ilwon (he goes by Won) knows all the regulars (like us) and he recognizes us as soon as we walk in the door. But if you are new, you’ll still be welcomed and greeted by his big contagious smile. I don’t think Won has ever been angry or upset in his life ever. I simply can’t imagine. He probably came out of the womb smiling. Won reminds me of a Japanese Clark Kent – I wonder if you would agree. Even if you don’t, you’re about to learn that he is, in fact, the Superman of Sushi.
For vegetarians, sushi is generally pretty consistent, until your try Won’s sushi. Won pushes the envelope of vegetarian sushi and has MUCH more to offer. Consider starting with a miso soup, a seaweed salad, and his agedashi tofu. If you’re looking for some traditional avocado rolls, cucumber rolls, or vegetable rolls, he’s got you covered. However, some days, I just like to see what he’ll surprise us with.
The first time we mentioned that we’re vegetarian, his eyes lit up as if he had many more tricks in the bag for vegetarian fare. Won went to the Harvard of Japanese Culinary Schools, so he has much talent and creativity waiting to be unleashed…you just have to give him the green light. I often order a Vegetarian Bento Box. He’s probably the only one in the city that offers one and it’s also really good and full of surprises! Your tongue might be tantalized with hints of olive oil, sweet potato, lemon mayonnaise, or marscapone. Give him a white canvas and let him paint!
We’ve also brought a big group of friends here, both vegetarian and meat-eaters and they agree with our sentiments. Don’t miss this culinary museum. I’ve tried a few other places since, but hands down, Ilwon is the best. Fujiyama is the best.