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Emeryville – Fabulous Furuzu – Asian/Japanese tapas

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This Asian / Japanese-influenced tiny restaurant opened a few weeks ago.

It is currently CASH ONLY. Dishes are available for take out. There are some noodle soups.

Tonight I tried:

Harden the soft shell crab ($6)
Shrimp in a nest ($8)
Duck flatbread with mango salsa ($8)
Ginger milk custard ($5)
Non alcoholic sangria ($5)

For five dollars there was a entire pitcher of pomegranate colored sangria, made with tonic water and non-alcoholic wine chock full of sliced strawberries and cubes of fresh pineapple. The tonic water gave it a pleasant bitter edge. It was very different, refreshing and I enjoyed it very much.

The crab was the least expensive soft-shell that tried this season and one of the best. Served on a pretty red triangular dish it has a crunchy coating and is flecked with pepper giving the juicy crab an added zing.

Shrimp in a next were six shrimp with a thin crunchy noodle topping. The restaurant is giving out a flyer that says “Bring in this flyer and you’ll be asked “What’s in the nest?”. Our chef will complement one of the dishes if you get the right answer. (Answer is on the Menu)”.

Cynthia, the chef/owner was telling someone that the mangos were perfectly ripe and so I ordered the wafer-thin soft flatbread that was strewn with the diced sweet mango salsa and pieces of duck. I have finally become a fan of duck this past month and this is the second duck dish I have ever liked in my life.

Cynthia said the lovely ginger milk custard was typically Japanese. It is a warm thick milk, slightly sweetened, with the heat of fresh ginger in every bite. Served in a little crock-like dish, my guess this is Japanese comfort food. I highly recommend it if you like ginger.

There is an interesting beverage selection. There are about eight loose leaf teas. They have that lovely Jasmine tea that is wrapped around a clover flower and blossoms in your cup.

There is also a selection of soju and soju cocktails. Since I know little about soju, I hope some Chowhounds have an opinion on these (spelling very likely in error):

Shinakaba Gura Tokubetsu Jyumal
Kikusul No Karacuchi
Setsuset Subjijin Jyunumal Gbslyou

Whew. The cocktails are easier.

SOJUITO – Soju, lemonade, mint
LYCHEE SAKATINI – Lychee, saki
SORJURNO – Soju, lime juice, cranberry
SAKE RANGER – Sake, orange juice, ginger

The wines are interesting but the list is small – two whites, three reds and one sparkler (Roeder)

This is a lovely 30 seat restaurant with a Asian bistro flair. They seem to be going for hip. ultra cool yet still cozy. The website is being developed, but the link below has some pictures and address info. The wooden banquette has a copper back running along the wall. Windows open the restaurant up to Adeline Street. Currently there is some construction in the area so parking is a little tight.

The modern Asian music was border-line too loud, but I was the only person in the restaurant at opening time, so it might have amplified a bit. It wasn’t so loud that I felt the need to have it turned down though.

The brief menu which is planned to change monthly is listed at the end of this post. Take out is available.

While the service was very pleasant, I have to think the server was new at this occupation and is in the process of being trained. Plates were not cleared until the next course arrived. There wasn’t enough menu guidance. I was eating alone and when I ordered the Sangria I was surprised to see a pitcher brought to the table. At $5, I didn’t expect more than a glass. When I mentioned this, I was told that the menu listed it as a pitcher. It didn’t. I would use you own guidance and ask questions. The serving sizes are enough for a single person with a maximum of two sharing a plate. I’d ask about portion size as well.

The name of this restaurant means Friends in Japanese. It was named in honor of the many, many friends who encouraged Cynthia to open a restaurant and helped her in all phases of bringing the restaurant to life.

They are long time fans of Cynthia’s cooking and even more enthusiastic than I am about the dishes … and I am enthusiastic. I’m sure if Chowhound didn’t prohibit posts by anyone with an association to a restaurant or the staff, they would be gushing. However, I encourage them to talk to Cynthia. I will be interested in hearing from long time Chowhound posters who might decide to give Furuzu a try.

This Emeryville restaurant is up the road from Ikea near Arizmundi. It is a block up from San Pablo Avenue at 40th.

Restaurant Furuzu
3986 Adeline Street
Emeryville, Ca 94805

(510) 601-1882

Hours (as with any new restaurant, call to confirm)
Lunch: 11:30 – 2:30 (M-F)
Dinner: 5:30 – 10 (M – Sun)

Here’s the menu excluding the dishes listed above

Small Plate

Lourdes chips
Shrimp toast

Not so small plate

Honey ribs with Thai basil and curly mustard
Garlic sautéed seasonal greens
Green papaya salad with pan-roasted tiger prawns

Not yet large plate

Thai basil tenderloin salad
Oops, fish in the hot water
Sake marinated Australian leg of lamb brochette in Peking dry rub with coconut and ginger rice
Never enough wild mushrooms with oyster sauce
Noodles for the summer – Green tea and carrot noodles with Portabella mushroom and Japanese eggplant in a miso glaze
What’s in that clay pot – black mushroom, chicken with coconut and ginger rice
Duck soup – Japanese buckwheat noodles with roasted duck and organic baby red chard

Desserts – all $5 except the fondue

Baby and mommy mochi with red bean (not house made according to server)
Why not fry the ice cream? (server didn’t know the variety of ice cream. Didn’t ask)
Old fashion baked Tapioca
Chocolate fondue with fruit of the season for two ($12)

Link: http://www.restaurantfurenzu.com/

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  1. Nothing like making a typo in the title

    1. a handful of us from my office in emeryville just went here for lunch; we got the wild mushrooms, the carrot & green tea noodles with portobello mushrooms in miso glaze, the beef salad, the prawns on green papaya, the duck flatbread, and the chicken claypot.

      as a vegetarian i can't personally attest to the quality of the four meat dishes, but the mushrooms and the noodles were both excellent.

      my dining companions all said the beef was the highlight, very well-spiced with just a hint of wasabi. they also seemed to enjoy all the other dishes as well.

      that said, the portions really are slim. the chef (cynthia, it sounds like?) came out and chatted with us a bit, asking how things were, and we said that while the food was excellent, she might want to adapt the menu for lunch to be a little heartier.

      for dinner, the place seems well-targeted; with a couple drinks and an average of 2 or 3 plates each, it'd be about a $40 meal, and the food is certainly of that quality.

      as it was, we all left still somewhat hungry for $13 a person; for a filling lunch meal it'd probably run $20+ a person.

      i hope the place does well, though, because the food really is quite good. it's surrounded by a mess of construction on nearby buildings so it's a little tricky to find at the moment.

      3 Replies
      1. re: brian

        Yeah, it would be nice if they are able to develop a few lunch oriented dishes. I was thinking the noodles might be a good lunch option, but it sounds like it was a small serving.

        Some salads and sandwiches would be nice. They are right near Arizmundi so the bread from there would make great sandwiches. But that might not fit in with the concept.

        Like you said maybe heartier portions or lower priced options. Thanks for the post.

        1. re: brian

          Just ate there as well this weekend.
          The food is really good. I enjoyed the ribs,mushrooms, the claypot, and flatbread dishes the most.
          But the 3 of us were hungry and we kept ordering. Our bill was nearly 100$ with Tip.

          We all agreed it was good, but a little pricey for the area. If this place was in SF, I could understand the prices more. But I agree with the other poster that some things could be a dollar less for portion size.

          We will def. be patrons of this place to try the changing dishes each month since the food was very tastey.

          1. re: brian

            Just ate there as well this weekend.
            The food is really good. I enjoyed the ribs,mushrooms, the claypot, and flatbread dishes the most.
            But the 3 of us were hungry and we kept ordering. Our bill was nearly 100$ with Tip.

            We all agreed it was good, but a little pricey for the area. If this place was in SF, I could understand the prices more. But I agree with the other poster that some things could be a dollar less for portion size.

            We will def. be patrons of this place to try the changing dishes each month since the food was very tastey.

          2. Been there twice for lunch so far. Like other posters said, it's nice to have this food option in Emeryville.

            First trip there I had the ribs and the sauteed bok choy with garlic. Both very good, and the ribs are a good value at $7.50.

            Second trip I had the lamb brochette with rice steamed in banana leaf and the wild mushrooms. The lamb was quite chewy and both it and the rice could have used some salt. At $12.50 for 2 dabs of rice and a few small pieces of chewy lamb, not worth the money.

            The mushrooms however, were excellent. The portion size was large and there were a number of chanterelles in the mix. I'd have this again.

            I brought a couple others there and they all had to order additional plates because they were still hungry. Our bill for 4 was $120 with tip. Definitely not a great value, for not being totally stuffed.

            I think the addition of some larger portion sized dishes and/or lowering the prices $1 or so on others would help this place stay afloat. It's hard to recommend, because while some of the dishes are quite good, the price is a litle too steep for what you get.

            Best value/taste: honey ribs, veg sautee, wild mushrooms

            1. f
              fred the fish

              Precipice and I popped in to Furenzu last week after he'd read reviews here. It wasn't tricky to find though it is surrounded by construction. A bit of an oasis in Emeryville.

              We started with shrimp in basket which came quickly and weren't oily. The host/waiter suggested we dip it in the sauce (good suggestion)and it went well with my wine.
              We also tried the garlic seasonal greens (baby bok choy) which were very fresh, just enough garlic for flavor but it didn't overpower the tender bok choy. We were both less enthusiastic but okay with the noodles for summer (green tea and carrot noodles) -- a little bland unless you picked up some of the lovely mushrooms or roasted eggplant.

              What's in a pot featured roast chicken, rice with fresh coconut and not much flavor or moisture. Far too bland and dry.

              It's a nice space inside. I agree with other posters that the plates are a little too small. Three will suffice for two people, however.

              1. Very disappointed.
                Is it fushion food or what?
                Tasteless!