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Tastemakers: The Fusion Spicy 3-Way/The Fusion Sake 3-Way

Rick Coates - July 18th, 2011
The Fusion Spicy 3-Way
There are several reasons to visit Frankfort, the obvious being the beach in the summer time. If you’re lucky enough to score a tee time at Crystal Downs, consistently rated among the top 10 golf courses in the U.S. that would be another. Charter boat fishing opportunities are plentiful as well. The recently renovated Garden Theater might be another.
Making a day or weekend excursion to the Frankfort/Elberta area has lots in store, and certainly a stop at The Fusion should be a part of that journey. This restaurant makes my very short list of restaurants in the region that. have dined at least a couple of dozen times and not once have I or my guests had a bad meal or bad service.
During a recent visit my family and I had the good fortune to have Flipz (his nickname -- he is the agile one -- his brother not so is nicknamed Slipz) as our server, he was exceptional in every aspect of his service, guiding us through the menu. This was important as my family decided to be adventurous and try some new dishes.
Soup is included with your entree and I opted for the Hot & Sour which was exceptional. For my entree I went with the Spicy 3-Way which features the General’s Chicken, a dish that is listed on the menu as the “staff’s favorite” (the menu is loaded with recommendations including the UPS driver’s favorite). General’s Chicken is found on most Asian restaurant menus though common belief is it was developed in New York in the ‘70s. The sauce is the secret to the success of this dish along with the lightly breaded chicken.
The presentation of everything at The Fusion is nice from simply arriving and seeing the tabletop to the dishes they use. The Spicy 3-Way was no exception, the plate presentation was simplistic but impressive. As were the Nong Tong Wings prepared with the spicy Bangkok glaze. The third dish was the Chicken Red Curry, a traditional style curry and the best I have ever tasted. I was told that Uncle Va (co-owner) has a secret technique.
Whatever their techniques are, The Fusion has got them right. Check out their menu at and be sure to visit their other restaurant, Talia Bistro Bar, right down the street. --Rick Coates

The Fusion
Sake 3-Way

A challenge for first time sake drinkers is understanding the characteristics of this ancient Japanese beverage. While the appearance suggest sa wine is in store for the palate, the process of making sake closely resembles beer. But this is where the similarities end as sake has its own flavor profiles and is often unfairly compared to other beverages and even wrongly described as a watered down vodka.
Sake was developed in Japan during the third century. While beer typically is in the 4% to 6% alcohol range and wine in the 12% to14% range, sake is stronger at 17% to 20% alcohol. The key ingredients are rice and water and sake typically takes about a month to ferment and is aged for about six months. A special type of rice is used, and since sake has about 80% water content, the quality of water is essential. It is best enjoyed soon after the brewing process; after a year in the bottle the flavor profiles start to deteriorate, so don’t age.
A great way to try sake for the first time is at Fusion in Frankfort with their Sake 3-Way sampler. Served in mini wine glasses on a nice display rack, this sampler works for both the novice and connoisseur of sake. The top glass features Momokawa Silver Sake, a dry “ginjo” (premium) sake that has hints of green apple and pear and is crisp on the palate. The middle glass is a semi-dry sake from Gekkeikan, the largest of Japan’s over 100 producers. The bottom glass features a raspberry sake that is slightly sweet.
There are no hard and fast rules for pairing sake with food. The challenge is sake is actually quite complex and its flavor profiles are more subtle compared to those in wine and beer, making food pairings not so obvious. Dry sakes work well with traditional Japanese cuisine, sushi along with lighter style fish and chicken dishes, fresh salads and less pungent style cheeses. The raspberry sake will pair up nicely with grilled salmon and of course any chocolate desserts.
Sake continues to grow in popularity in the U.S. and some microbreweries have taken on making it. Typically, it is served with a slight chill, though some styles are served warm. The preferred vessel is a ceramic cup but glass is acceptable and nosing the aromas as with wine is suggested as well. Certainly, letting the sake swirl around the palate will increase ones enjoyment. If you are looking at expanding your beverage horizons consider The Fusion in Frankfort as they have the largest sake list in Michigan. Kampai (Cheers)! --Rick Coates
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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