Restaurant review: Fusian’s Chipotle-style sushi offers unique take for co-eds

  • Photo by Tim Johnson
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From the April 11, 2013 edition

If you like a little tUnEyArDs with your raw tuna, then Fusian might be the place for you. If you’re a hard-core sushi aficionado, then probably not.

To get a feeling for Fusian (as in Asian/fusion), click “Lifestyle” on its website — you’ll see three jus’ hangin’ dudes who could serve as the definitive illustration of, uh, “chillaxin.” They’re the young founders of this young, clever company, whose recently opened OSU branch succeeds brother outlets in Cincinnati and on the University of Dayton campus.

Fusian’s zeitgeisty hook is inexpensive sushi-ish items prepared Chipotle style. While a value-focused, assembly-line chain restaurant might sound antithetical to your conception of sushi consumption, this smartly market-researched operation — which caters to people who don’t really like sushi — does offer college kids something they need and want: fresh, cheap and healthy meals in a fun (if booze-free) environment.

So there’s a mod soundtrack, an upbeat clean-lined space with big slab tables and composting/recycling bins plus a check-your-priorities motto (“Easy. Casual. Sushi.”) to nudge diners that “cool, laid-back progressiveness” resides here. So do thematically consistent softball shirts worn by a super-friendly, “go team” crew.

That crew will help you pick your uncooked fish (the limited selection has included tuna, salmon, yellowtail and smoked salmon) and customize your self-designed — or Fusian pre-designed — roll by adding on generous freebies like asparagus, avocado, scallion, jalapeno and sprouts. Alternately, you can choose seafood substitutes (like chicken or beef) and heavy-handed sauces to replace or obliterate the taste of raw fish.

The Carrot-Ginger Salad’s ($2.50) a nice side. Made with romaine and grated carrot plus a fresh and refreshing pulpy dressing, it’s an upgrade on that old Japanese-American restaurant warhorse.

I also tried the pre-designed Shrimp Tempura, Spicy Salmon and Yellowtail rolls (all $7.25). Each was nicely-sized and featured good, clean-tasting seafood in amounts varying from plenty (the tuna) to skimpy (Yellowtail). Each also featured chewy exteriors, un-vinegary rice and mild flavors — save for the add-ons and sauces. I liked the Spicy Salmon best but thought the pleasant fried shrimp nubbins — which sorta got lost in roll form — would be a terrific a la carte addition.