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Oct 17, 2012 11:23 PM

Update on Fuji Bakery

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  1. Oh, no, their baker left? I wonder if it will be the same when it reopens.

    12 Replies
    1. re: christy319

      On the website, they say the grand opening in the ID and Bellevue will be this Saturday, March 23. I look forward to hearing comments, in anticipation of returning to Seattle myself in a couple of weeks.

      1. re: RandyB

        Just stopped by the Bellevue store (happened to be next door and saw the open sign). It now says Fuji Bakery and G.A. Something. The gal inside is possibly of eastern european dessent. The remodel is not an improvement from an ambiance standpoint. I picked up a couple of pastries to try later which look good. Will report back.

        1. re: ethereal

          According to the website, G.A. Bakery is their partner store and is offering Bosnian food and baked goods at the Bellevue store only.


          1. re: ethereal

            I didn't get around to trying my treats until this morning. Because of this, I'll reserve judgement on the pear puff pastry. But the chocolate muffin I had was wholly pedestrian. On par (if not eerily similar) to a Costco chocolate-chocolate chip muffin.

            It's not looking like the Fuji Bakery of before, so far.

            And the Bosnian food sounds about right. I'm not particularly familiar with it, but there was baklava and some unfamiliar deli meats.

            1. re: ethereal

              My question is whether the new Fuji can make a croissant like the old Fuji did, a very close second to Besalu?

              (I am writing this from Paris, co I cannot check for myself.)

              1. re: RandyB

                Not based on the puff pastry I had (I've had Bakery Nouveau croissants that have held up much better than this puff pastry did, next day). My 1 visit to Besalu, I enjoyed more than BN, but BN happens to be a stone throw's from my MIL's home, so I visit there more frequently than the Ballard neighborhood.

                I'm not sure I thought the old Fuji Bakery could hold a flame to Besalu either though.

                1. re: RandyB

                  just had a croissant today at Fuji in the I.D. Unfortunately it was missing that legendary flakiness and texture.

                  It is not the same. =(

                  1. re: shaolinLFE

                    Hi, shaolin:

                    Sounds like the inexorable decline that comes with expansion/franchising.

                    Ever wonder if there was a proto/primordial Panera that was good?


                    1. re: kaleokahu

                      I think the problem is their head baker was the reason for the closure in the first place; the expansion/new main bakery on Elliott happened, then that baker left.... if they don't have an expert baking those recipes (which I understood they invented a # of them) - Fuji may have lost it's magic. :(

                      1. re: gingershelley

                        Sad but likely true. Taka was a great baker of French viennoiseries (breakfast pastries like croissants, pain au chocolat) and French bread. I would be very hard to find his equal. Sounds like they didn't even come close, from comments here and on other sites.

                        I liked some of the Japanese pastries as well, but have no standard of comparison. It's a long time since I was in Japan. I don't remember pastry-like items as being a part of most of my meals.

                        1. re: RandyB

                          I just went to Fuji in Bellevue yesterday and purchased a couple things. It's not even in the same ballpark as the previous incarnation and is now sadly not worth the trip IMHO.

                    2. re: shaolinLFE

                      I just stopped by the ID outpost and got a chocolate croissant, just for research purposes, of course. I had never been to the original Fuji, so I can't compare, but the one I had was nothing special. There was nothing really wrong with it, but nothing really right with it, either.

                      I was actually hoping to find some good breads (my quest for walnut levain is what led me to this thread in the first place). Sadly, they only had two breads on hand--a white bread and a raisin bread (looked like white bread with raisins). I asked if they were going to have more and different breads, and the cashier said that she thought they'd have more at the end of the month.

          2. Ahh, thanks for sharing, just passed the Seattle store yesterday and saw the note to reopen mid-December. Fingers crossed on their reopening soon.

            1 Reply
            1. Wow, somehow I completely missed this. Unfortunately, it will take a miracle to find a Japanese baker to replace Taka Hirai. Or a baker of any nationality. His quality and particularly consistency in French pastry, like that of James at Besalu, is rare.

              3 Replies
              1. re: RandyB

                I walked past Fuji in the ID today. There was much activity (sweeping, straightening, etc.) going on inside, and an "open" sign sitting on a table inside. Looks like it'll be soon. Of course, that doesn't say anything about the quality with a new baker.

                1. re: Seattlecubsfan

                  Latest word on the Fuji website is opening in late March 2013.

              2. More details:

                So the owner, with no baking experience, is now the baker.

                I forget, do we know where Taka Hirai (pastry chef) went?

                4 Replies
                1. re: christy319

                  Let's be fair, it sounds like the owner acknowledges that he's opening too early now.

                  I think we need to give it a few weeks (month?) before really being able to judge. I guess until that flagship store opens up and he puts out his "best product"

                  I will say though, that it doesn't sound promising when he talks about machines that have replaced a by-hand process that used to occur.

                  1. re: GreenYoshi

                    Agree about the machines. They must be expecting to do some huge volume if they can't hand-shape everything.

                    The bake everything on Elliott and deliver across town model concerns me too. On one hand, I understand economies of scale and needing to do volume to make the business work. On the other, so many pastry items suffer from sitting around getting cold, even if just for a few hours. I think freshness is one of the keys to the quality of Cafe Besalu, Bakery Nouveau, and Columbia City Bakery. They keep baking fresh items all day. A Besalu croissant is amazing in part because of James' skill and experience, but also because it is pretty much fresh out of the oven, not like some wholesale thing you get at a coffee shop that was baked at midnight, packed into boxed or bags, driven across town, then put on display for hours.

                    1. re: GreenYoshi

                      I don't think Fuji will every be the same unless they can get another Japanese 'French' baker....

                      This is a strong Japanese tradition of having serious French pastries interpreted through a Japanese perspective and ingredients.

                      Rare that we got to have it in Seattle, I believe it is a unique type of pastry baking hardly found outside of Japan. Sigh....