Fune Ya

Saved by the sushi boat

HUNGER SET SAIL I must confess: I wasn't planning to go to Fune Ya. I wanted to go to Namu, but couldn't get a table (thanks, Paul Reidinger). Then I wanted to go to Burma Superstar, but after driving around the Inner Richmond for 45 minutes trying to find parking I wasn't in the mood to wait twice that amount of time for food. So after buying a bunch of Peek-a-Poohs and Pocky from Genki's Crepes, I walked a few doors down and saw a big banner in Fune Ya's window: "Sushi Boat! $1.95 Rolls Special Promotion."

I love sushi boats for their interactive quality. We're taught as kids to wait patiently; as adults, we're taught that serious dining is a process of patience, of conversation in between plates. The whole point of a restaurant is to be served. But sometimes, as I walk starving through the restaurant to my table, I just want to grab food off the server window. I not only want what I order, but to pick off what everyone else ordered. Hence the sushi boat: you see, you want, you grab that shit. Ah, instant gratification.

Sushi boat sushi is never that good. It's only decent when the restaurant is busy and the sushi is constantly replenished. On this visit, it was a Friday night, so everything was fresh. The shrimp tempura roll was delicately crunchy — not oily and soggy — and the shrimp was juicy and sweet inside. The spicy tuna with creamy sauce on top was delectable, as were the California rolls and other sushi standards. It was when we got into the nigiri that the quality severely dropped. The octopus was way too chewy; the salmon was fresh, but sorely lacking the high-grade buttery flavor.

A nice touch at Fune Ya normally missing from sushi boat establishments, though, was having the makings of a full meal via nonsushi items: appetizers (such as edamame) and dessert. The dessert was deep-fried tempura banana drizzled with sweet strawberry sauce. It was incredible. I am ashamed to say that my friend and I grabbed four plates, all of which were newly fried — warm, mushy banana in a crunchy, still-sizzling cocoon.

If you find yourself in the Inner Richmond (hopefully, you've taken the bus or ridden your bike), stop by Fune Ya. The cheapie promotion will last a few more months.

FUNE YA Mon.–Thurs., 11:30a.m.–3 p.m., 5:30–10 p.m.; Fri., 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m., 5:30–11 p.m.; Sat., 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m.; Sun., 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m., 354 Clement, SF. (415) 386-2788,

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