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JJ's Fusion now fusing sugar, bad Chinese, and badder sushi

jjq Jul 24, 2009 10:01 PM

Have the original owners (JJ and Richard Lin) sold this once-solid Astoria restaurant - name, menu, and all, to incompetent new ownership? CAN ANYONE CONFIRM? Our last, and last ever, trip to JJ's Fusion was simply one of the most disappointing outings I've ever had at a restaurant in New York, perhaps because JJ's used to be so good. I can't imagine the same owners that gave us so many good meals would have served the food we ate this past Friday night (7/24/2009)

Our last meal:

1) Salmon Tartare - rancid fish-oil-fried tempura crumbles and thumb-sized chunks of textureless salmon marinated in something orangey, sweet, and oniony? No zest/spice/salt, just sweet grease...

2) Edamame Potstickers - once a 2004 best-of-city dish! Ours should have been called Edamame Teethcleaners. Mealy dumplings with a MINTY, and somewhat chalky sauce, that like the former was cloyingly sweet.

3) PLEASE READ THIS ONE Mackerel sushi - All right, what comes to mind when I say mackerel sushi.... Everybody think... OK, what did we all come up with. mackerel, rice, perhaps a sprig of scallion or a dab of wasabi..............................
Did anybody say DUCK SAUCE? WT#%$@!??? SWEET MACKEREL?!??!?? SWEET JESUS, WHAT IS GOING ON HERE??? A huge dollop of oniony duck sauce in the middle of my precious salty, flaky, oily mackerel?????? I'm actually scowling as I'm writing this...

4 & 5) Soft Shell Crab Roll & Tropical Roll #1 (salmon, tuna): a few bites in, we threw in the sticks. I thought my soft shell crab was rancid oily shrimp tempura; my wife thought her roll to be gummy and warm. Both dishes, again drizzled with SWEET, corn-starchy sauces...

Even our sake was a raspberry Remi Martin disaster: alcohol-free and cough syrup sweet.

R.I.P. JJ's Fusion. I will choose to remember you in your prime, when the Times remarked about your style and critics lined up to play I-found-you-first in the outer boroughs... for those days are now long... long gone.

  1. t
    Tay Jul 25, 2009 04:50 AM

    I can't believe you continued to eat the food. Esp. sushi. You're lucky you didn't feel/get sick.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Tay
      jjq Jul 26, 2009 08:00 AM

      We actually did stop eating shortly after starting our rolls. I think another detail worth mentioning was that the waiter took our unfinished rolls away (they were hardly touched) and didn't ask whether there was a problem. While I do not need to be pampered excessively while dining out, I do like it if the staff, if they have pride in their product, to take notice in unfinished (or barely started) main courses, as this may be a sign of poor food quality.
      Luckily we didn't get sick, however, the sweet waxy grease that coated our mouths ruined our appetites for the evening (too bad, because there's a new burger place further down 31 Ave - Bareburger - that I'd like to try).
      Stride gum seemed to help though....

    2. Jeffsayyes Jul 25, 2009 10:18 AM

      maybe the head chef was out that day?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Jeffsayyes
        Tay Jul 25, 2009 01:07 PM

        That's hardly an acceptable excuse

        1. re: Tay
          jjq Jul 26, 2009 08:04 AM

          I completely agree. While not a chef, I would think that part of being a good one is being sure that a competent person fills in when you are not there. The average diner doesn't know your work schedule and your reputation is at stake every night.

      2. Harlan Jul 26, 2009 01:05 PM

        I'd be interesting in hearing about any other bad experiences recently. We went a few weeks ago with a couple of friends and it was pretty good. I definitely would never order the "tropical rolls". Those are almost always ultra sweet, at any restaurant. I agree the mackerel shouldn't have duck sauce. I'm sure that I got a mackerel a couple weeks ago, and there was definitely no duck sauce!

        4 Replies
        1. re: Harlan
          planetjess Jul 26, 2009 01:14 PM

          The dinner sounds so weird, I'm starting to wonder whether he should have checked for hidden cameras...

          1. re: Harlan
            jjq Jul 27, 2009 07:12 PM

            CORRECTION: I should have said "duck sauce-like" since it was starchy and very sweet. It was actually soy-based, with an oniony flavor but very sweet and extremely creepy.
            Apologies for the misrepresentation/misstatement. It was, however, nonetheless awful. I truly felt sorry for the mackerel, as this was not a fitting valediction for any animal.

            1. re: Harlan
              fudjunkie Nov 7, 2009 05:49 PM

              Husband and I ate there about a month ago, and everything was delicious. Had the Arizona sunset roll and some kind of scallop roll (can't remember the name) that was truly outstanding. We've been eating there for awhile, and haven't noticed any decline in quality, but I've never tried any of the dishes jjg described (except the edamame potstickers, which I've never loved). I'm with Harlan in wondering what others' recent experiences have been like. Did we get lucky?

              1. re: fudjunkie
                pcorntail Nov 12, 2009 06:49 AM

                jj fusion was my favorite for sushi in astoria but the last time i went it was "absolutely different". It wasnt horrible but it just wasnt the same and everything was sweet. We ordered rolls which were ok and the salmon dish which was drenched in a very very sweet sauce (almost not edible). I asked someone who knew the chef very well and he told me that the original chef is gone and that he opened his own place. I'll try to find out the name of the place. Stay Tuned.

            2. j
              jjq Jul 27, 2009 07:17 PM

              CORRECTION: It wasn't actually duck sauce, rather "duck sauce-like" in that it was sweet and starchy. I shouldn't misrepresent: it was soy-sauce based, but most closely resembled duck sauce.
              My apologies for the exagerration/misstatement, however, the experience was still awful.

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