By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
And the fins? Scottish salmon planted on a tangle of soba noodles and cilantro aioli is stunning. The fish, with a slight sheath of crispness, flashes medium-rare pink, is moist, flakes robustly and fills the mouth with a rich but restrained flavor. Subbing lemon with Texas grapefruit--to temper the sear with a little sweetness--is simply brilliant, plus it conforms to the Fuse tagline.
Yet the Fuse ambience always threatens. The Dallas Power & Light building is essentially a beehive of trendy lofts. The elevators to the lofts above are just aft of the host/hostess stand. This set up essentially means that residents stroll through the restaurant vestibule with freshly walked pooches, sometimes to the cooing of hostesses and servers. Sometimes the owners even tote baggage. One dog owner was spied strolling through the restaurant with a leash in one hand and a plastic sack in the other filled with--we must assume--a substance that rhymes with kit. There's only one way this may not be a flagrant violation of city health codes: if these mostly tiny terriers are seeing-eye dogs. That means many of the residents of the Dallas Power & Light building are blind. This is possible. Yet the Fuse menu is not in Braille, though it is hard to see in all of the chic duskiness.
And it would probably be difficult to decipher sushi via fingertip anyway. Fuse's sushi is serviceable, especially for a place that doesn't specialize in it. The fish is cool. It glistens. It's near silken in texture and virtually void of stringy sinew. Sheets of snapper, cluttered with scallions and layered upon a large leaf of Thai basil, are smooth, and they disperse in the mouth--tender, delicate and freshly potent.
Fuse serves lunch, and the roster is provocative: cured salmon club and beef short rib hash. Dessert is startling, too: roasted Granny Smith apple split blends apple and caramel sauce punched with dried cherries and spiced with cinnamon and cardamom.
Conclusion: This pretentious atmosphere is not worthy of this honestly cultivated food. Fuse is a transient rutting den with sloppy, slow service (10 minutes for a glass of wine in a near-empty restaurant) and fashion statements that bend from exertion. This cuisine deserves an embracing bistro to cultivate a steady stream of appreciative regulars who aren't smitten by wispy sheers and techno-thumping. And while there are plenty of them around, it doesn't take a dog to sniff out this hissing dud. 1512 Commerce St., #111, 214-742-3873. Open for lunch 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. Open for dinner 6-10 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and 6-11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Closed Sunday. $$-$$$