Pac Rim Rumba

Fusion weds Asian and Tex-Mex and creates a happy marriage

Vietnamese stuff obviously must make an appearance, and it burrows into the menu with understated elegance. Vietnamese bún is a bowl of firm, separate rice noodles with bits of lettuce, cilantro and scallions strewn throughout. Though beef was ordered, chicken was delivered: tender, juicy chunks generously scattered over the surface. It must be hard to distinguish between a bird and a bovine when fusion is the doctrine.

Goi sua, a classic bit of Vietnamese nourishment, is suffused with chill. Glowing with a light peach through its milky translucence, the tender frayed strips of jellyfish crunched when chewed--like tiny chicken bone joints or tamer patches of beef gristle. Bright carrot slivers poke through the tangled pile like needles, and it's all electrified with a lime-chili dressing edged with a narrow thread of sweetness.

Asian food is hip, especially when it mingles, mangles and blends the whole Pan Asian strip. The music at Fusion thumps and weaves. The colors are warm, and the woods enveloping the banquettes are brawny in a metrosexual sort of way. The granite tabletops are well-polished. The votive candles and halogen lighting don't add one lumen or watt to menu reading ease, just as they don't at most restaurants simmering on the edge. But it is nice to look at, and it's made to order for a beautiful people swarm, though they don't seem to have discovered it yet, which means you should make haste and get to Fusion before they start clicking through in their Blahniks and Mercedes key chains.

Fusion gathers the Pacific Rim and ties it together with grace.
Peter Calvin
Fusion gathers the Pacific Rim and ties it together with grace.

And for them there is a beautiful, architectural dish: seafood bird's nest, an odd piece of fauna blending. A meticulous basket is woven from tarot root, which beds shrimp, calamari cones and scallops--all cleanly sweet and bathed in a mild sauce. And these flavors were set off by vegetable bitterness--cauliflower and broccoli--tempered by mushrooms.

Perhaps the most remarkably delicious specimen was kasu-marinated black cod in plum buerre blanc with spicy mango chutney and a fried Tex-Mex sushi roll of black cod, peppers and avocado. That's Japan, Texas, France, India and Mexico bundled on one long, narrow strip of a plate. That's the kind of fusion that can go thermonuclear.

4334 Lemmon Ave., 214-521-3536. Open for lunch 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, only sushi from 2:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Open for dinner 5:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 5:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m. Friday & Saturday. $$$

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