BEST SUSHI - 1999
How the world turns. In its first incarnation on the riverfront (1959-1988), Fuji-Ya introduced many Twin Citians to sushi. When the granddaughter of the original chef reopened the venerable restaurant on Lyndale last year, you could no longer count decent local sushi joints on a single hand. But there's still a big difference between decent and great--and Fuji-Ya has recently attained greatness. The salmon is more buttery than elsewhere, the tuna deeper, the sea eel less fishy. And the freshness of the more obscure selections--like salty natto maki (fermented soybean roll) and mild tako (octopus) sashimi with lemon slices and daikon threads--easily bests the competition. Props go to new sushi chef Teng Thao, formerly of Origami, for the escalating genius of the food--and the joking camaraderie developing behind the bar. Cozy, spacious, and friendly, Fuji-Ya knows that good sushi only starts with the fish.