Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Fusion: fabulously fresh, worldly dining experience

A fabulously innovative restaurant has opened in Bonsall, and it’s not going to remain a best-kept secret for long. Last week, I discovered Fusion, a modern eatery with a distinctively sleek global feel located in River Village. I absolutely can’t wait to go back. The food, primarily prepared and served tapas (small plates) style, is organized in five segments representing choices in international dining on the menu: Spain, Japan, Hawaii, Mexico and Fusion.

“When we developed the concept for the restaurant, we thought it would be fun to have one place where you could order foods from different parts of the world,” said partner/manager Lucas Giorgiantonio, who owns the establishment with partners Leone D’Arcangelo, Stefano Silvestrini, and Simone Silvestrini. The restaurant opened quietly in mid-February.

The décor inside Fusion is spicy orange, jet black and cool chrome. The food is absolute fresh perfection and each dish is unique, well prepared, and attractive. The tapas design allows multiple small plates to be enjoyed and shared amongst friends or family.

“The idea is to share with your family or friends and experience different tastes and cultures,” explained Giorgiantonio. “We want to offer a different way of eating.”

In addition to many other noteworthy points, the most impressive attribute of this restaurant, in my opinion, is the freshness and wholesomeness of the ingredients used in its dishes.

“To make great food and stand out, you must have the freshest ingredients,” said Giorgiantonio. “We get our deliveries every day.” The restaurant also has a team of specialty chefs who specialize in the various types of cuisine.

The day I visited, I tried a selection of dishes, all of which gained my admiration. First I sampled the Grilled Lamb Skewers from the Spain section. Moist, fresh ground lamb had been marinated and blended with fresh basil, tarragon, cilantro, and mint before being grilled and served over mesclun greens, drizzled with cider cream sauce. Savory with a hint of sweetness and spice, the set of three skewers are handmade when ordered.

A Garden Roll was selected from the Japanese offerings. Giorgiantonio told me it would be “exceptional and unique.” He was correct. Never had I tasted such unparalleled freshness in sushi. Aaron Bishop, the chef for the Japanese and Hawaiian cuisine, explained that he takes pride in the high quality he produces as a result of his 10 years of specialized experience.

“The result can be attributed to the highest quality ingredients and preparation style,” said Bishop. “I’ve done my best to meet the goal of providing the best sushi available.”

The roll was wrapped in soy paper and included yama gobo, cucumber, avocado, Japanese mint leaf and topped with pickled plum paste. I knew immediately upon tasting that the avocado in the roll was Hass, as it had the unmistakable nutty flavor of the best of its variety.

When I tasted the Smoked Paprika Seared Scallops, the burst and blend of flavors deserved careful appreciation. The scallops were seared with the smoky taste of paprika and melt-in-your-mouth tender. They were served atop a parsnip puree, sautéed spinach, and dressed with a carrot chipotle reduction sauce. I encouraged Tomas Felix, the chef that handles the Mexico and Spain segments of the menu, to discuss the dish with me.

“We get our scallops from Japan,” said Felix. “We begin the sauce by sautéing the carrots with the chipotle sauce.”

After liquefying the carrots and chipotle, a naturally sweet sauce results that enhances the scallops nicely. The parsnip puree is made with the root vegetable being cooked and then blended with sour cream, salt, pepper and honey. The colorful presentation of this dish is equal to its incredible taste.

The Tropical Shrimp Tacos offered plump, crispy panko-fried shrimp atop char-grilled corn tortillas topped with a deliciously fresh chopped mango papaya salsa. The accompanying dressing was a chipotle lime cream. The exceptional taste and defined crunch of the large shrimp begged a mystery to be solved.

Giorgiantonio admitted with a smile, “There is a hint of coconut in it.” Perfect.

For a sweet finishing touch given the summer month, Giorgiantonio provided a Peles Passion from the Hawaiian selection. This dish is comprised of cottage cheese sprinkled with a generous serving of freshly diced papaya and strawberries, sweet hand-grated coconut, accented with agave nectar. This dish could easily be ordered for a light protein and fruit lunch or enjoyed as a wonderful dessert.

To list or describe all the innovative items on this menu would be impossible, and diners will find their first experience will warrant multiple subsequent trips to discover all the pleasures at Fusion.

An intriguingly nice selection of wines and beers has been hand-selected for this restaurant’s menu.

“I think the greatest wines are from Italy and California; maybe a few from Argentina,” said Giorgiantonio. “With beers, I went with more microbrews and feature some of the big names found in Europe and San Diego.”

Also on the menu are fruit-flavored “tequila” shots, which meet the guideline for a beer and wine license. And the good news is, Fusion’s Happy Hour specials are great!

The walls feature large images of the faces of Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, Leonardo DaVinci, Albert Einstein and Galileo.

“We wanted to put the faces of people who have made revolutionary changes in the world on our walls, because that’s what we are trying to do here.” said Giorgiantonio.

My opinion is that the proprietors of this restaurant have succeeded in making that level of change in our local dining culture.

Fusion is open seven days per week for dinner and Tuesday through Saturday for lunch as well. In addition to indoor dining, two outdoor patios are offered as well. For more information, call (760) 643-1278 or visit 5256 S. Mission Road, Suite 907.

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