Fugu Asian Fusion, 411 W. Gilman St., is now open. The former site of the all-you-can-eat Yummy Buffet has been extensively remodeled for a slightly more upscale dining experience, but then, almost anything would be more upscale than the Yummy.
Fugu expands across the Asian menu with Chinese, Thai, some Indian and Japanese and other "unique" recipes.
Chinese includes items both familiar (kung pao, a meat with cashew, eggplant in garlic sauce) and less familiar; listed under "Sichuan" are pig ears with chili sauce, West Lake beef soup, a hot & sour sliced fish soup, ox tongue and tripe, spicy pork kidney, pork intestine with garlic shoot, water boiled beef, cured meat with string beans and the open-ended "sautéed delight with spicy sauce." Thai goes for the curries (red, basil, green, lemon grass, masaman, ginger, panang, sambal and chili) as well as pad thai.
There's also yaki udon, papaya salad, satay, tempura, and roti.
The "unique" items center on shrimp and scallop fusion dishes. But no actual fugu (the potentially dangerous Japanese pufferfish). Signature items are fried red snapper, teriyaki steak and salmon, deep fried shrimp, Saigon steak, a surf & turf with a "Thai basil filet mignon and shrimp tempura with wasabi honey sauce." Also to look forward to: dim sum. If the menu fulfills its promise, this fusion could jumpstart Madison's Asian cuisine scene.
Warning: Construction on University Avenue and Gilman Street right now makes driving to Fugu a bit of a hassle. Park and walk, bike there, or just hoof it.