The moment he first stepped onto the property at 123 South Main Street, Bo Tan, owner of Fusion 25, began imagining the changes he would make to create his future restaurant.
“This is a beautiful building from the outside,” he told The Newtown Bee during a recent afternoon visit. “You have to make the customers’ experience welcoming from the minute they drive up.”
Moving back into his newly designed space, he pulls up before and after photos of the interior and exterior on a laptop. As he points around the room, it is evident that the former operator's "cheesy" wicker shades and handwritten “use other door” signs are now gone.
Mr Tan said he took it upon himself to improve the exterior landscaping as well, especially around his signage and the curving walkways that lead guests into the cool, bright lobby or around to the restaurant's festively decorated three-season deck that recently opened.
“Last week, we hosted a wedding party for 45 outside and they loved it,” he said.
Returning to his photos, he points out other changes made to the interior — including the installation of several hundred thousand dollars in customized ceiling drops with alternating colored mood lighting or star patterns. He also traded solid partitions for glass etched with climbing bamboo trees, which by day, filter loads of natural light.
Gone are the randon wall decals, a yellow plastic backlit canopy over the sushi bar, and high maintenance indoor fish tank. The hibachi room is expanded to four tables featuring subdued granite accents, the sushi bar is also larger, and there are plenty of places to sit in several dining nooks where you can take in all the sights and sounds of Fusion 25’s experienced staff.
“Really, the place used to look more like a Chinese takeout joint than what the building and room were designed to be - a classy place,” Mr Tan said. “And nobody will recognize anything from a previous menu, either. We reinvented everything.”
The interesting color schemes Mr Tan selected for his interior design compliment Fusion 25's meticulously constructed appetizers, salads, and martinis, as well as the signature rolls, house specialties, desserts and other menu fare that may change daily or weekly depending on the availability of the freshest ingredients at market.
All the dishes at Fusion 25, and Mr Tan’s other property in Shelton, Asian Bistro, are designed and tested under the watchful eye of head chef Jimmy Zhen.
He has crafted a menu that goes from grilled squid or spicy garlic edamame apps for $8 to the intriguing signature rolls, priced from $13 to $16. For a main course, Mr Tan suggests the grilled Chilean sea bass with green peas, avocado, and cream sauce ($25) or the inviting Balinese lobster in a bed of red and yellow sweet peppers and zucchini spiced with red curry sauce ($20).
Want a fusion twist on an old favorite? Mr Tan recommends either the orange beef ($18) or the sesame chicken ($13), perhaps with a sweet and spicy Malaysian coconut soup for starters ($5).
Another new feature at Fusion 25 is the six-day-a-week Happy Hour from 4 to 6:30 pm Monday through Saturday, with half-price drinks and a wide selection of specially priced apps and half portions.
Sample the sashimi salad, whitefish tempura, samurai roll, avocado salad, special tuna rice cakes, salmon asparagus, shrimp or calamari yakitory, and tuna tataki for just $4.99. The Happy Hour chicken yakitori is just $3.99 , or sample the crab rangoon or gyoza for just $2.99.
Mr Tan will be happy to help guests host a Fusion 25 party for up to a hundred seven days a week between 11:30 am and 4:30 pm, or just wander in for a cold beer or cocktail.
Tangle with a Dragon Fruit-Tini ($9), or try a tea-infused vodka lemonade (48). The Fireball Whiskey shots are just $5, or go for a refreshing draft Honker’s Ale, Harpoon IPA, Palm, or Blue Point Toasted Lager.
Fusion 25 features more than 20 bottled or canned beers, including a popular array of Japanese brands, sake, and dozens of assorted wines, including the most popular offerings from J Lohr and Whitestone.
Mr Tan is hosting live jazz Saturday, June 29, and has plans for occasional entertainment in the future. He also invites his Newtown clients to bring their friends from out of town, not only to enjoy the restaurant, but to show off all Newtown has to offer.
He is also marketing the place in neighboring communities hoping to draw additional interest to his new “home town” from patrons and possibly others looking to open a new business here.
Visit Fusion 25 on line at Fusion25.com, or call for your family, business luncheon, or small party hibachi experience or takeout at 203-304-9688.