Fuzio makes pastas focus of fusion food experience

You’re sitting around on a Friday night with a few friends deciding what to eat for dinner. One person wants Italian food, another suggests Greek food and perhaps a third wants Thai or French. The solution to this common dilemma is Fuzio, a relative newcomer to Dupont Circle that serves up a unique brand of fusion food. This time around, the fusionfood focu is on cross-cultural pastas.

Fuzio’s few problems started before our meal. Reservations are an absolute necessity on a Friday or a Saturday night, although they only seem to guarantee that you will wait 20 minutes instead of the 40 to 55 minute wait without them. Either way, you’ll have to spend your time waiting in an area that is just about the size of a Thurston Hall closet and equally as comfortable.

Once you get to a table in the brightly colored dining room, things improve. The menu is cheap. The most expensive dish costs less than $9. Although the lack of acoustic paneling permits only the most cursory conversation, a good mix of music and the din of diners make eating at Fuzio a fun experience.

We started off with two appetizers – the toasted focaccia bread came with basil and tomatoes. Served like French toast, the dish makes a good appearance, albeit a bit heavy on the oil. The spring rolls with chicken are much better. Prepared with a heavy dose of cilantro and mint, these light Vietnamese finger foods have a very fresh taste, perfect to accompany the slightly smoky chili dipping sauce.

Pasta is clearly the winner at Fuzio. A fairly wide range of incarnations should leave you with plenty of choices. The Penne Greco is prepared to let the Kalamata olives shine but still complement the tomato-basil sauce and crumbly feta cheese that tops the pasta. Equally good is the Shanghai chicken pasta. Although the dish seems more Thai in nature than Chinese, the pairing of freshly prepared noodles with chicken and a savory yellow curry sauce makes for a warm meal on a cold winter night. The overtones of lemongrass and scallion leave it light enough for other times as well.

The crispy calamari linguini is best left alone – not enough of the promised lemon can break through the oily sauce, and the pasta is nothing different than something you can make at home.

If you really must break away from the pasta, the Pesto Penne salad is worth trying. The nice mixture of greens, cucumbers, and croutons pairs well with the balsamic-pesto dressing that accompanies it, softening the taste just enough to allow the topping of feta cheese to fit right in. Be warned: these salads are not intended as an appetizer; they are big enough for a meal, if not two.

Dinner for four, including drinks, appetizers, entrees, tax and tip came in right at $60.00 for more food than we even thought we could eat. Dining at Fuzio is cheap and delicious – just make sure you have the time and patience to try it.

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