Monday, December 07, 2009

Fusion : East Longmeadow

Disclaimer: I will say up-front that we ate here the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Perhaps the main chef was out on vacation or there is some other explanation, but I'm not going to hold back my critiques on a particularly sad meal.

My main issue was with the prices, which were eye-gouging for the quality of food we were served.  Entrees ran high 20 to mid 30's and for that price, I could be having a pretty fantastic meal in Philly or other large cities.

My second issue was with the menu, which was not only confusing, but just all over the map.  They describe their entrees as "entree style tapas."

Dude, what does that even mean?

Just call them entrees.  Tapas suggests small plates and the necessity to order multiple dishes.  And that's already covered in your *tapas* section.

And I realize that name of the restaurant is called Fusion, but a tapas section, a sushi section plus a pasta section and the serving of Shrimp Pad Thai and Mediterranean Veggie Stone Pie?   It just seemed like a business nitwit was hoping to cash in by inserting the latest food trend buzzwords into the menu.  And they were hoping to get away with it, with the slight freedom that the fusion category provides and perhaps the relative lack of competition (and demand for better food) as well.

Wok Fried Calamari (Tapa) - Tossed with General Tso's style glaze and banana peppers - Calamari cooked okay. Sauce and texture a arguably slightly more sophisticated Americanized Chinese style dish.

Sweet potato fries & chipotle aioli (tapa) - This actually was okay.  Still not worth the price, but not poorly done.  A fairly thick battering w/ a decent crunch that overshadowed any of the inside sweet potato texture. Aioli mayo w/ something like ancho.

Snapper special - Snapper a bit dry/overcooked.  I find it simultaneously amusing and sad that the snapper is completely covered in the sauce - it looks like someone cooked the snapper so badly that they attempted to cover it up with sauce.

Fusion Seafood Basket  - Wok stirred lobster, shrimp, scallops and calamari in a light sesame glaze with asparagus. Served in a lightly fried potato basket.  Seafood a bit overcooked, served with a bland light sauce. Besides the deep-fried noodle bird-nest type thing, which seemed a bit stale to me, I'm not sure I'd be able to distinguish this from a seafood dish served a Americanized Chinese take-out joint.

Sea Horse Salmon - Sushi grade Salmon seared and crusted with a horseradish honey-mustard topping with shallot infused smashed potatoes - A very conservative/simplistic flavor, the salmon, so-so cooked, covered with a batter and topped with a sauce more on the sweet honey-mustard side than horseradish. The shallots in the smashed potatoes were like caramelized onions and gave the savory mashed potatoes a slight sweetness.  Strangely, the accompanying vegetables, overcooked to limpness and nearly without any flavor, in some odd terrible way were complementary to the stronger savory sweet flavors of the mashed potatoes.  I suppose that the combination of sweet honey-mustard sauce savory mashed potato appeal to someone who prefers simpler flavors.

Sason Sirloin - A ten ounce bistro sirloin lacked with crispy potato strings, flavored with a light Latin Sason sauce consisting of garlic, cilantro & olive oil. Over artichoke sauteed with asparagus and fried potato. - Sirloin cooked more on the well-done side and was rather dry.

Cast Iron Fillet - An eight ounce pan seared of tenderloin enhanced by burgundy mushroom demo glace. Served a top red-bliss smashed potato and grilled asparagus stalks. - Juicier and tasting like beef, but umm, I still don't get why such a naked cooked piece of meat is so popular in the US.  I mean I get if you've got some spectacularly fresh or specially fed cow or something that leads to a great piece of steak.   But this isn't usually the case.  So why aren't unflavored pieces of chicken, duck, or pork as common?

It boggles my mind that this place could be popular.  Yes, I get that others might prefer a simpler and/or familiar flavors, but the execution of the dishes wasn't even there (which perhaps is the consequence of such a wide-ranging menu?).  In any case, for the price, this place is ridiculous; it almost makes me want to import take-out from some of my favorite Philly restaurants and sell it here to educate customers what they're missing out on.

Fusion Cafe
53 North Main Street East Longmeadow, MA 01028-2320 (Map)
(413) 525-0993

1 comment:

  1. Prices are certainly bad, and even more so now that they have new owners who are EXTREMELY RUDE. Had been going here since it opened and will not be going back after a few very bad experiences. For that much money and that little food, the service should be excellent, and this was the worst service I've ever recieved at any restaurant in the 3 LAST times i will ever go. DONT WASTE YOUR MONEY.