Fukada: Don’t Let the Hype Fool You

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8683 Irvine Center Dr.
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 341-0111

We came to Fukada from a few recommendations from friends who couldn’t stop raving about the place. We went around 5:00pm, right when they opened on a Friday. The place filled up quick and when I looked around, almost everyone was eating udon or soba, which is what they are known for. I got the Duck Udon, while Julie got the tempura udon. We also both ordered one order each of the crunch roll just for kicks, since a few people also recommeded to us.

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I have to also say for the price, Fukada does not impress me. There are a lot of rave reviews about this place from many different sites and from many different people, but to be honest, it’s very bland. I’m going against the grain here and I’m sure certain people would disagree with me. However, I’m being honest and I feel most people are blowing this place out of proportion and giving it more credit than it really deserves. The presentation for my duck udon was uninspiring and messy, not to also mention the duck meat itself was too thick. It required a lot of chewing and you can’t eat the duck meat together with the udon, the pieces are just too thick. At least it was tender, but thats about the only praise I can give it. The udon noodles itself were too soft for me. I perfer noodles to have some texture to them, not just dissolve into my mouth like this place was. The broth, however, was it’s saving grace. Their broth is actually very deep and complex with many flavors interwoven through. It’s not too salty and it didn’t feel like all they did was mix dashi with water like some places. You can tell Fukada takes good care in making their soup base, and it shines through.

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I also tried Julie’s Tempura Udon, but the bowl didn’t even look appealing to eat with all those little bits of tempura batter floating on top. The udon was the same, too soft for my liking. The tempura batter itself was starting to soak in a lot of the broth, so it started to taste kind of mushy. Julie said by the end the bits of tempura batter just started have as what I can closely compare to as the consistency of rice pourage. I wouldn’t recommend ordering this if you go here.

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Most people say it’s a noodle house, so don’t expect much from their sushi…but to me, if you’re going to offer it, make it good or just don’t offer it at all. The crunch roll here has crab filling, tempura shrimp, and a small piece of asparagus. I first thought it might taste good and they were trying to be different. However, when I tried it, again…very bland and almost no flavors were noticeable. The rice was very well made though, so at least they know how to make their sushi rice. You can detect a subtle hint of the vinegar that was mixed in, but it was perfect for me. I prefer avocado in my crunch roll. Yes, avocado is an american creation for sushi, but so was the crunch roll, so please put avocado in it, because this aspargus thing isn’t cutting it. It needs some sort of fat in it to make it more desirable. The other major no-no about this roll is what they use to make the “crunch” for the roll…and it’s fried bits of tempura batter. This was NOT a good way to do it. The pieces were all in different sizes and some were in different textures. Some were soft, and some were crispy. Most places use panko bread crumbs to top it, and they do it for a reason, it’s because it works and it’s good. Using tempura batter just gave too many inconsistent pieces of crunchy batter which detracted from the overall experience as a whole. After two pieces, I just about had it with the roll. Just stay away from their sushi if this is an indication of how they make their other rolls. I rather just eat the rice alone and omit everything else. Their shrimp wrap was okay, again, nothing great about it. It was just pieces of deep fried battered shrimp wrapped in sushi rice. At least the rice was good though.

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Overall, Fukada is nothing more than an overly hyped Japanese restaurant that fills a niche in people’s lives who have cravings for Udon since there aren’t very many good Japanese restaurants to begin with in Irvine. I honestly don’t recommend going here, but if you really insist on going, I say avoid the tempura Udon and their sushi…it’s just poorly designed additons to the menu and needs to be taken off. I’ve yet to try their soba and will probably go back and give it a second chance, but to be honest…I can’t recommend this place. There are just better, cheaper places to eat at out there. Oh yes, this places doesn’t really fill me up either, because immediately after we ate here, we went somewhere else to grab food because we knew we were going to be hungry an hour or so afterwards….and we were. Just spend your hard earned cash somewhere else.

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~ by thankgoditsfood on May 17, 2009.

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