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Discerning Diner: Mt. Fuji offers mountain of delicious options
Discerning Diner

Discerning Diner: Mt. Fuji offers mountain of delicious options

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I’ve dined at more than a few Carlisle restaurants, so Mt. Fuji may have heretofore been given short shrift due to my limited experience with Japanese cuisine. I have been reconsidering this for a few weeks now and decided to give the BYOB a shot and share my impressions, along with that caveat.

The eatery at 149 N. Hanover St. has been serving the Carlisle community since 2006.

When my husband and I arrived last Saturday night around dusk, we found street parking not far away around the corner from the establishment. Although we lacked reservations, we were immediately greeted and offered a choice of seating near the front window or in the main dining room. We chose the window seat up front, near the curved sushi bar on which patrons can perch to get a close-up view of the action.

Our waiter presented us with glasses for our wine and offered us water before giving us time to peruse the extensive menu. As we waited to order, I took notice of the attractive décor, with its abundant pendant lighting and use of curvature, from the design of the small partition separating the dining room, to the pink and teal paint scheme on the walls.

Items on the menu are almost too numerous to mention, but I’ll offer you the Cliff Notes, which include soup and salad, along with cold appetizers like black pepper tuna with “special sauce,” and sliced octopus with ponzu sauce. A selection of 16 hot appetizers include gyoza (dumpling), fried shrimp and grilled mussels with cream sauce, to name a few.

As for sushi, I counted 38 offerings, and that’s just the cooked rolls. The Chef’s Special rolls matched them in number, and raw sushi options totaled about a dozen and a half, or so. The good news is that they’re all listed on the website, along with prices, but keep in mind that the restaurant offers half off the price listed on the menu every day, which is quite the bargain.

We figured one can’t go wrong ordering a signature dish, so we requested the Mt. Fuji roll, comprised of spicy tuna, spicy salmon, avocado and tempura (list price $16.95).

It’s all about choice at Mt. Fuji, so I’m not quite done enumerating the selections yet. Noodle dishes allow customers a choice of udon (wheat), soba (buckwheat) and ramen (egg), and a selection of protein, ranging from beef, to chicken, seafood, beef and shrimp. If that’s not enough, Mt. Fuji also serves sukiyaki (sometimes referred to as “hot pot” style), hibachi (done on a small cooking stove heated with charcoal) and teriyaki (broiled, or grilled with a glaze).

Additional dishes included a selection of donburi, a Japanese rice bowl dish. Neither I, nor my husband, was familiar with the term, but the description sounded good to him, so he ordered the pork katsudon ($12.95). Being a little less adventurous, I chose the chicken ramen.

As we waited, the restaurant began bustling with a combination of couples who came to dine in and Dickinson College students ordering take out.

Approximately 10 minutes after placing our order, my husband was presented with a mild Miso soup and a salad comprised of iceberg lettuce and a few strips of cabbage and carrots and topped with a tasty ginger dressing that I enjoyed sampling. About 10 minutes later, the rest of our food hit the table.

We would have preferred to enjoy our Mt. Fuji roll first, so the timing could have been a bit better, but the 17-piece Mt. Fuji roll was delicious, crunchy and fresh tasting.

My ramen was presented in a cute cast iron pot. The plentiful portion contained a generous amount of chicken strips, lots of noodles and a few broccoli florets, along with carrot strips, celery and scallions. It was at this time that I realized that I would have been quite full just sharing the Mt. Fuji roll, but soup heats up well the next day, so I ended up taking half of it home. The ramen was piping hot and mildly flavored with either fish or oyster sauce, so if you’re not fond of those, this might not be the dish for you.

The pork katsudon received rave reviews from my husband, and it’s something he would order again. He described the breaded pork as extremely tender and said that the fried onions and the soy sauce infused the rice with quite a bit of savory flavor.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the vast menu at Mt. Fuji, but now that I know what to expect, I will be happy to return to share another one of their sushi rolls the next time I visit, especially now that I know that they’re half price. As for my husband, he said he’d happily return for both the sushi and the pork katsudon.

Next Up: Lunch at Marie’s Café on the Carlisle Pike.

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