This week I went to Fusion Asian Grill in Provo, Utah.
- 1700 N State St, Provo, UT
- (801) 375-0818
I only have one complaint: their location is terrible. Any other location would have better. However, this might be by design. Good restaurants in Seoul tend to be in dumb places. The best place to get noodles in Northern Seoul is in an alley near Chong-Ro Sam Gak. The best rib place in Uijongbu is around the corner from Camp Red Cloud that the GIs never go to as the owners don’t speak English and the sign simply says “Kal-bi” in Korean. Both places in Seoul have bare, flickering fluorescents that often don’t work; the floor is suspect with cracking or faded linoleum to sit on and the calendars at these great places are out of date.
Fusion is this type of place, except the lighting is good and the restaurant is very clean, but does have that slightly run-down look that indicates good-eats in Asia. The logic is if the owner spends money on atmosphere, lighting and decor, then the food sucks. If you are in Seoul, Hong-Kong or Tokyo and you are in a beautiful restaurant, simply know you are being ripped off and the waiter just spit in your soup.
The owner/operators for Fusion are a very nice Korean family. I was so overwhelmed by the smell and down-hominess, I half expected a chain-smoking, middle-aged man wearing a wife-beater, reading the newspaper in the corner and a pile of shoes by the door. As the weather was over a hundred when I went in, I wanted Korean summer food. I didn’t even read the menu thoroughly when I blurted to the owner’s son (the waiter), who was on the other side of the place that I wanted Kim-Bab, Naengmyeon and a Dr. Pepper from the fridge by the door.
Naengmyeon is cold noodle soup with floating ice chips in it. Fusion piled long strips of millimeter thin cucumber and fresh daikon, half a hard-boiled egg and diced green-onions on a mountain of nicely chewy buckwheat noodles. Naengmyeon comes from Pyonyang in North Korea and became very popular after the Korean War ended. Sometimes there will be slivered, boiled beef and Asian pear, but Fusion opted for a simply recipe with a light broth flavored with a hint of horse-radish and sesame oil.
Kimbab is Korean sushi without the fish. Kimbab is traditional hors d’œuvre or bus stop snack food. Instead of fish, Kimbab has meat of some sort. My favorite is hotdog Kimbab, but Fusion’s Kimbab has beef. I’ve had spam, pork and odaeng. All are very good and much less pretentious than sushi.
Here is how I grade their menu:
- Naengmyeon — A (this would be considered good even in Seoul)
- Kimbab — B+ (I don’t like the dipping sauce)
- Dr. Pepper — C+ (the fridge by the door is very Korean and is filled with whatever the owner picked up at the grocery store)
Fusion Asian Grill is a traditional Korean Shik-Dang and is the best Korean food in Provo. I highly recommend it. Other diners had Bulgogi and Ojinaga-Bokum which all looked great. I’ll be getting those when I eat there again.