Fans of the first Fuji Seoul, a former Asian fusion restaurant in Merrick, can now revel in its revival. Replacing Kravings at 151 Merrick Ave. is the second coming of Fuji Seoul, a Korean/Japanese restaurant that offers dishes from both cuisines on the same menu.
Fuji Seoul officially opened a month ago under new ownership. Before assuming the role as its chef/owner, David Sim, of Queens, worked at similar establishments in Manhattan, Queens and Long Island. Before coming to America in 1985, the 62-year-old worked as a chef in hotels in his home country of Korea. He has 35 years of experience in the kitchen, and was formerly the sous chef at Kum Gang San in Flushing and co-owner of Isono in Floral Park.
Along with fellow chef Alex Lim, who has 32 years of cooking under his apron, the two hope to bring “something new” to the table at the revived Fuji Seoul, Sim said. Lim is a four-time restaurant owner, and worked with Sim at Kum Gang Sam.
“We’ve only been open for one month but business is getting better,” Sim said. “Everybody’s happy when they’re eating and saying they’ll come back again.”
Sim prepared a variety of dishes that anchor Fuji Seoul’s menu. From behind a glass display case stocked with raw seafood — bought fresh daily from a fish market in the Bronx — he carefully assembled sushi rolls to be loaded onto a wooden mizu boat. Sim then filled a stone pot, known as a dolsot, with rice, topped it with a rainbow of fresh and cooked vegetables and adorned it all with a perfectly fried egg. The Korean dish is called bibimbap.
The kitchen kept churning out steaming plates of Korean and Japanese delicacies, including a colorful stir-fry of glass noodles and vegetables known as japchae. Arriving last to the table on a sizzling hot skillet were Korean-style ribs, or L.A. galbi, tender and savory tidbits of beef. Sim also noted other menu favorites for diners to try, including a spiced calamari appetizer, sweet potato tempura rolls and homemade kimchi, a traditional Korean side dish of salted and fermented vegetables made with a wide selection of seasonings.
As the restaurant launches into its second act, Sim hopes he can keep the new Fuji Seoul open for years to come. “This is a nice place with a good location, and there are good customers in this area,” he said. “We like the people here, and we want to keep the restaurant here.”
Fuji Seoul is at 151 Merrick Ave. in Merrick, and is open Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. The restaurant offers dine-in, takeout and delivery options. To make a reservation, call (516) 992-8822.