Fujinoya Restaurant, Hartsdale
How could I have missed this?” you might ask. The action is across the street at the shopping centers, but this stand-alone restaurant offers a taste of classic Japan. A small group of people wait outside before it opens. Inside, you’ll find an oasis of parasols and lanterns, and an incongruous little oven from the space's former life as a pizzeria.
Fujinoya is known for sushi, and indeed the sashimi could hardly taste any fresher. Besides the expected, there’s a menu of fish from Kyushu, an island renowned throughout Japan for its fresh seafood. Beyond the usual rolls and tempura are a delicious chicken-cutlet roll, salmon-mango roll, and much donburi; the pictorial menu also devotes ample real estate to soba and udon, with foamy grated mountain yam among the toppings.
Lunch draws a mostly Japanese clientele. Not only is there a $10 bento box offering two of more than a dozen choices—Salt-broiled mackerel? Vegetable croquette?—there’s a monthly calendar menu of daily $8.95 specials, too. The specials are displayed; on one visit, it was stuffed cabbage in broth alongside cooked pumpkin and veggies, with a large dumpling.
When it’s busy, service can be slow. I would have liked more green tea with my anmitsu, a refreshing red-bean, agar, and fruit dessert. Still, I know I’ll be going back again, even though I live in Asian-restaurant-rich Mamaroneck.
26 S Central Ave, Hartsdale (914) 428-1203 | www.fujinoyarestaurant.com