Mira Mesa has gotten a new addition to the neighborhood: Fuze, a Korean restaurant located where “Mr. Wasabi” used to be. They haven’t changed the name on the signage yet, but you still spot the restaurant when you’re driving west on Mira Mesa Blvd. I was invited to come in and try out the restaurant not too long ago. I actually went in early to do a “sneak peek” on one of my lunch breaks before I came in. For this trip, my cohort was my dad.
We there about 5PM on a Wednesday evening. No other guests to speak of. Our hostess/waitress showed us to a table and we sat and started to peruse the menu. Sadly she wasn’t totally well versed on the menu so I felt it was a little lacking there since she gave us half-hearted suggestions. No matter, we ordered a few things and were off!
[pajun – korean style scallion pancake]
I’m not well versed in Korean food at all. This was described to us as sort of a “seafood pancake”.
It’s a large pancake-like appetizer with lots of scallions and little shrimps. The outer edge was a bit crisp (though not too crunchy) and the inside was very doughy. Our waitress said “it’s supposed to be like that” but it sort of tasted like the inside wasn’t cooked all of the way. I did not really like the consistency of the inside of the pajun and mostly just nibbled on the outer edges and a few pieces of the shrimp.
[fried calamari with wasabi ranch and house tarter sauce]
The fried calamari was a more familiar dish that we tried – I was mostly curious to see what kind of twist (if any) they would put on one of my favorite dishes. The calamari are cut into rings and then fried in a coating of batter, resulting in a light, crispy calamari. I love that they’re served on those noodle things (I can’t remember what they are called! argh) giving them a fun, visual appearance. The wasabi ranch wasn’t too god-awful hot and the tarter sauce was just okay. I kept nibbling on these babies sans sauce, cause that’s how I roll. They were tender with a very slight chew and a nice, crisp outer texture.
[bulgogi – sauteed sliced rib eye, onion, asparagus, bell pepper, mushroom and basil]
My dad ordered the bulgogi – or Korean barbequed beef – for his meal. I tried this previously for lunch and my dad and I both agree that this is a very good dish. My dad said that this reminded him of “something your mom would make” – a meat and mostly veggie dish in a nice sauce with some rice on the side. The bulgogi has a nice seasoned flavor and I love the veggies that come with it (especially the mushrooms – I lub you, mushrooms). The bulgogi is tender and the marinade/sauce is slightly sweet and delicious. They also serve bulgogi philly cheese steaks and bulgogi sliders, two items I surely want to come back and try in the future.
[pork belly tacos – thai style marinated pork belly with pico de gallo]
I decided to try two different kinds of tacos. The first was the pork belly tacos. I see the magic words “pork belly” and I get excited for some pork belly meat.
Only thing was, I didn’t totally enjoy these. I wasn’t a fan of the pico de gallo here. I felt like the sauces covered up the flavor of the pork belly a little too much for my liking. The pork belly was also not as sweet and tender as I was hoping for. I felt that the other flavors on top of the pork belly were just too much for it and all I could really taste was the sauces and not the meat, which I really wanted to shine through. I wanted to like these so bad, but it just didn’t do it for me.
[kalbi tacos – korean marinated short rib, scallion, cabbage and slices onion]
The other tacos I tried though – the Kalbi Tacos – were totally awesome! Instead of pico de gallo I got two different kinds of sauces – the orange sauce I liked a lot – it gave the tacos a good punch of flavor. I was told later that the cook took a few weeks to develop the sauce recipe and did not share the recipe with anyone! The kalbi meat was very tender and full of flavor – it was cooked perfectly and lent a nice sweetness and outer char to the tacos that I really liked. I even liked the cabbage with it – something I’m not usually fond of. I’d definitely order these babies for my belly again.
Fuze also offers desserts made my Heaven Sent in North Park. They have a different variety so you’ll have to ask your server what’s available that day. I couldn’t help getting a piece – I mean, it’s Heaven Sent!
My dad and I shared part of this chocolate cake – which I can’t remember the name of – but it was rich, chocolatey and very decadent. The layers of cake were moist and delicious and there was a filling in between layers of the cake.
There were some hits and some misses with this experience, but I would come back and try a few more things off of their menu. They have some seafood noodle dishes and bulgogi sliders that sound really excellent so I want to be sure to come back in and try those items out!
[Disclaimer: My dinner was complimentary. I was not paid for this review and all opinions are my own.]
Fuze Restaurant and Lounge
9379 Mira Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92126