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Furai Japanese Restaurant, located in Vicenza's old town, offers a wide variety of Japanese dishes, both cooked and raw, at prices that match its premier location. But dining al fresco on a warm September afternoon? Priceless.
Furai Japanese Restaurant, located in Vicenza's old town, offers a wide variety of Japanese dishes, both cooked and raw, at prices that match its premier location. But dining al fresco on a warm September afternoon? Priceless. (Nancy Montgomery/Stars and Stripes)
Furai Japanese Restaurant, located in Vicenza's old town, offers a wide variety of Japanese dishes, both cooked and raw, at prices that match its premier location. But dining al fresco on a warm September afternoon? Priceless.
Furai Japanese Restaurant, located in Vicenza's old town, offers a wide variety of Japanese dishes, both cooked and raw, at prices that match its premier location. But dining al fresco on a warm September afternoon? Priceless. (Nancy Montgomery/Stars and Stripes)
A temaki with salmon and salmon roe, left, and a seafood sunomono with salmon, tuna, white fish, cucumber, seaweed and sesame seeds made for delicious appetizers at a recent visit to Furai Japanese Restaurant in Vicenza.
A temaki with salmon and salmon roe, left, and a seafood sunomono with salmon, tuna, white fish, cucumber, seaweed and sesame seeds made for delicious appetizers at a recent visit to Furai Japanese Restaurant in Vicenza. (Nancy Montgomery/Stars and Stripes)
At Furai Japanese Restaurant in Vicenza, the kaisen sunomono - salmon, tuna, white fish, cucumber, seaweed and sesame seeds in rice vinegar - is colorful, low in calories, and high in protein and vitamin A. Even the sweet, crisp carrot garnish was delicious.
At Furai Japanese Restaurant in Vicenza, the kaisen sunomono - salmon, tuna, white fish, cucumber, seaweed and sesame seeds in rice vinegar - is colorful, low in calories, and high in protein and vitamin A. Even the sweet, crisp carrot garnish was delicious. (Nancy Montgomery/Stars and Stripes)
Is this seabass at Furai Japanese Restaurant in Vicenza swimming in curry sauce or drowning in it? The white cubes are lychee.
Is this seabass at Furai Japanese Restaurant in Vicenza swimming in curry sauce or drowning in it? The white cubes are lychee. (Nancy Montgomery/Stars and Stripes)
My sea bass filet in curry sauce at Furai Japanese Restaurant in Vicenza had a nice char on it but the sauce was too salty.
My sea bass filet in curry sauce at Furai Japanese Restaurant in Vicenza had a nice char on it but the sauce was too salty. (Nancy Montgomery/Stars and Stripes)
The interior of Furai Japanese Restaurant in Vicenza is soothing, understated and empty on a recent September visit when diners, enjoying the weather and wary of the coronavirus, chose to eat outdoors.
The interior of Furai Japanese Restaurant in Vicenza is soothing, understated and empty on a recent September visit when diners, enjoying the weather and wary of the coronavirus, chose to eat outdoors. (Nancy Montgomery/Stars and Stripes)

On a warm, cloudless day at the end of a summer mostly lost to the coronavirus pandemic, I decided I wanted a late afternoon lunch, al fresco, under a white umbrella.

I also wanted sushi. So I headed over to Furai Japanese Restaurant, in the heart of the Vicenza’s old town.

The menu includes numerous sushi and sashimi items, chicken teriyaki and appropriately enough for a restaurant whose name means “fry,” shrimp tempura. There are also numerous soups, various cooked fish, steamed vegetables, fried dumplings and a nice selection of wine, beer and other beverages.

I took several minutes, sitting under the umbrella at a table socially distanced from another solo diner with two plates of noodle dishes in front of him, to decide what to get.

The result, as is frequently the case at Furai, was a mixed bag.

My kaisen sunomono — Japanese seaweed in rice vinegar with raw fish and sesame — was wonderful. There were pieces of white fish, tuna and salmon, and cucumber slices dusted with sesame seeds and nestled among the seaweed in the slightly sweet vinegar. It was a perfect appetizer for 8 euros.

It arrived with temaki, a hand roll. It’s a cone-shaped piece of dried seaweed holding salmon and salmon roe for 6 euros. I had ordered it after being unable to communicate to my masked server that I wanted two pieces of ikura, or rice with salmon eggs.

He wasn’t the most enthusiastic or friendly of waiters; I think we exchanged maybe 10 words. And the temaki didn’t come with wasabi or pickled ginger, which I love.

The nadir of the lunch was the main course. I’d previously had Furai’s sea bass baked in foil with ginger and it had always been delicious. So instead of that, for 13 euros, I got the sea bass in curry.

I usually love curry. But the dish looked unappetizing — much like a plate of baby diarrhea, to be honest — with bits of lychee on top. And although the fish was nicely charred, the curry sauce was far too salty. Furai portions are not large, but I only ate about half of the fish.

Still, I got to enjoy my kaisen sunomono and my glass of Lugana wine sitting in the piazza as the sun went down.

montgomery.nancy@stripes.com Twitter:@montgomerynance

Address: Piazza delle Erbe 9, Vicenza, Italy 36100

Hours: Noon to 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to midnight daily

Phone: + (39) 0444-321044

Cost: Expensive

Reservations: Available

Dress: Casual

Website:furairistorante.com

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