Fune Japanese Restaurant
Fune translates to vessel, or boat in Japanese, and that's exactly the first thing you see when you walk into this classic downtown sushi restaurant. At the corner of Adelaide and Simcoe for more than 10 years, Fune is the only place in Toronto that features the conveyor belt sushi made popular in Japan in the 60's, with a noticeable upgrade; adorable wooden boats floating in a giant circle around the 50 odd seat sushi bar.
The water theme is continued with a full fountain wall decked out with flowers and shimmering glass tiles. The rest of the room is rather dark, red walls with black wooden screens. Due to its basement location, it conjures up a bit of a dungeon vibe.
While the boats are certainly the main attraction here, there is a full dining room for people who aren't so nautical. Fune specializes in all types of Japanese food, not just sushi, similar to the owners other restaurant, Yamato in Yorkville; they offer udon, hot pot specialties like shabu shabu cooked table side and typical teriyaki style meals.
Boat wise, there are two plates per boat, and each plate ranges from $2.50-6.50. Each colour/design of the plate represents a different price, which can get confusing, and expensive. With usually two pieces of sushi per plate, it's a perfect non-committal portion for sushi newbies, or those that like to experiment with new flavours on a smaller scale. Chefs are chatty and happy to accommodate requests, or you can order off the full menu at the bar as well.
We settle on king cans of Sapporo at king sized prices of $9.95 each. Sake, cocktails, and wine also come at inflated prices; you may want to stick with the complimentary green tea. The complimentary amuse is always a nice touch. Tonight's is a mini broccoli salad with strings of crab meat.
From the floating boats, we dive in and snag the spicy salmon roll, topped with crunchy tempura bits. With three pieces per plate, it makes sharing a disaster, but civility prevails and we just grab the next tasty boat, BBQ eel with avocado, drizzled in sweet kabayaki sauce. Both plates are stellar; lovingly prepared and well plated.
Salmon nigiri floats by next. The two pieces evaporate quickly. The salmon is super fresh and beautifully cut; both pieces are precisely the same size.
From the menu we order the Spider Roll Maki ($13.95), four giant futomaki sized rolls stuffed with soft shell crab meat, avocado, cucumber and tobiko, dressed up with alfalfa greens and drizzled with kabayaki sauce. While the price is steep, the rolls are super stuffed and highly filling.
The highlight, the reason I keep coming back here, is undoubtedly the sushi pizza ($10.95). With salmon, tuna or both, the pizza is slathered in a spicy sauce topped with thinly sliced green onions, tobiko, and Spanish onions.
Standard toppings for sure, but elevated by the delicious crust- a thick and crunchy, evenly cooked rice patty that just barely holds everything together.
The vegetable tempura ($4.95) is the best price per portion on the menu, but considering it's merely a clump of deep fried yams versus one lonely broccoli crown the repetitiveness kinda kills it.
While sushi has long had a stranglehold on culinary tastes in the city, there's something quietly comforting about a spot that has been in business as long as Fune has. Consistency is always the best recipe, and the tiny little boats don't hurt either.
Fune welcomes groups of all sizes. It is not wheelchair accessible.