First, about that name. It’s nothing to snicker about, says Eric Zheng, the chef and owner of Fuku Asian Cuisine in Bethpage. Fuku means wealthy in Japanese, and that’s how he wants patrons to leave his restaurant, “feeling wealthy, like they are worth a million.”
As it happens, Zheng is originally from China’s Fujian province, which may account for the pan-Asian deliciousness of his menu, which includes such original signature items as a sushi sandwich ($12.95) constructed of spicy tuna, avocado and soy bean paper; wok-grilled garlic prawns ($18.95); avocado dumplings ($12.95) composed of crab and shrimp; and something Zheng calls his Wantagh roll, which consists of tempura shrimp, avocado and salmon ($15.95).
In every case, the dishes I had were both colorful and creative, and Zheng impressed with his command of fresh ingredients, careful cooking and creative presentation.
Fuku opened just four weeks ago, taking over the space formerly occupied by Izumi, a Japanese bistro, but Zheng has already been drawing crowds, sometimes to the five-seat sushi bar over which he presides seven days a week, and sometimes to his dining room, which holds 35.
Patrons are particularly drawn by his improvisational approach. “The menu is only a guideline,” laughs Zheng, who has been working in both restaurants and catering for 16 years, although Fuku is the first restaurant he has owned outright. “Some of my customers don’t even use it. People trust me because of what they’ve had before, and I am happy to make up something special.”
No wonder his guests leave feeling richer.
Fuku Asian Cuisine is at 440 N. Wantagh Ave. in Bethpage, 516-933-7225, fukuasiancuisine.com. Hours are Monday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 12:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.