FU Asian Kitchen
Dog – Cruzan Light Rum, Pineapple Juice, Coconut Water, Malibu Rum
Ox – Absolut Acaiberry, Kai Lemongrass Soju, Blueberries
Horse – Patron Silver, Grand Marnier, Five Spice-Pomegranate Syrup, Fresh Lime Juice
Sheep – Cruzan Light Rum, Malibu Pineapple, Mint
Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice
Kalbi Tacos with Kimchi
Duck Salad with Mandarin Orange, Candied Pecans and Plum Vinaigrette
Potstickers with Ginger Ponzu
Beef and Broccoli with FU Sauce
Fried Salmon with Bok Choy and Thai Basil
Walnut Shrimp with Lemon Aioli
Stir Fry Udon Noodles with Mushrooms, Shrimp and Scallops
Double Espresso on Ice
Deep Fried Oreos, Banana Spring Rolls, Vanilla Ice Cream, Lemon Mochi, Coconut Mochi, Strawberry Mochi
With the recent acquisition of The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino by Sir Richard Branson it seems a property already undergoing great change will quickly get a major facelift, everything from the gaming floor to pools, clubs and Restaurants said to be in consideration with FU Asian Kitchen likely to be lost in the shuffle and thus providing fans as well as those who’ve never been an impetus to go soon.
Owned and operated by Hard Rock, but in reality the domain of Chef Ming See Woo who has been at the property since 2012, FU represents the latest chapter in a career that dates back to 1976 when Woo and her husband opened Mayflower Chinese on Paradise Road, a brief retirement proving unfulfilling and her home at the Casino also on Paradise continuing to outperform expectations even now in 2018.
Last visited almost exactly two years prior, an ever-youthful appearing Ming See still working in the kitchen most days and the space largely unchanged, it was alongside one first-timer that a rounded booth was taken just prior to 5:30pm on Saturday, a pre-show surge in traffic briefly filling seats to about 50% around six but the Restaurant otherwise offering peace and quiet throughout the two and a half hour meal.
Located just past the main entrance of The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, MB Steak and Oyster Bar both opened between visits along with a Magic Mike show that has contributed some Happy-Hour Tapas to the Menu, it was after perusing a list of Cocktails based on signs of the Chinese Zodiac that two were selected to start, the current year’s Dog smooth and creamy which proved well-suited to both Spicy Tuna Tartare on pan-seared Rice as well as Tacos placing marinated Beef atop fiery Kimchee.
Allowing Chef Woo to dictate the course of the evening, a choice to adhere to the current menu rather than several unique specials offered last time likely a result of the unexpected rush, it was prior to more Appetizers that a sizable Salad topped with Duck and Oranges arrived, the flavor profile sweet yet pleasant while Potstickers served in follow-up outpaced those from Send Noodles as well as Jasmine by a substantial margin despite their similar or lower cost.
Checked on frequently by servers, a second round of Drinks highlighted by the Fruit-forward Horse while an Ox hit hard with Vodka and Soju, it was here that the menu turned toward sharable Entrees including tender Sirloin on a bed of Broccoli with rich FU Sauce, the Fried Salmon at its side an unexpected surprise that managed to wow by way of crispy Skin and Flesh that appeared only lightly kissed by heat at the center.
Somewhat glad to have declined Rice as far more than necessary would have been used to soak up vibrant Thai Basil Sauce, the veteran move a saving of stomach capacity for two additional plates, it was once again that FU’s Walnut Shrimp stood out by way of citrusy Mayonnaise that plays well of candied Nuts and light Tempura while stir-fried Udon delighted by being springy and slick with the umami-rich mix of Shrimp, Scallops, Peppers, Snap Peas, Soy and Mushrooms.
Using less hotel music than memory suggests, the dimmed environs thus perfect for lingering over Coffee or Drinks, it was alongside the Mojito-inspired “Sheep” that Espresso from Illy arrived, Woo’s impressive Bread Pudding 86ed as it does not have a long enough shelf-life for the Restaurant’s volume and unfortunately replaced by lackluster Mochi with Paraffin-eque shells served on a platter next to Banana Spring Rolls and Oreo Cookies that have been Tempura battered and Fried.
THREE AND A HALF STARS: A step back from two-years prior, the rumored closure of this and other Hard Rock Hotel & Casino venues to make way for Virgin’s big plans likely at least partially responsible, there nonetheless remain plenty of good reasons to visit FU soon, not the least of which being Chef Ming See herself…though who knows, maybe she’ll end up somewhere else on Paradise Road or at one of the property’s new Restaurants as she still appears healthy and happy behind the stove.
RECOMMENDED: Dog, Horse, Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice, Pot Stickers, Fried Salmon, Walnut Shrimp.
AVOID: Desserts, and the Ox Cocktail unless you’ve got a good tolerance for bitterness.
TIP: 11:30a-10:00p Sunday through Thursday and till 11:00p on Weekends.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.