Furai Japanese Restaurant’s entrees are hit or miss in Vicenza
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.
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