By Anne DesBrisay
About a year ago, Fuschian caught fire. Not a raging inferno, but enough of a nuisance to cause the place to close for a couple of months.
This week was my first taste of the post-conflagration Fuschian, though it’s been re-open since October 2010. It had been on my list to get back to for a year. I had missed An Tran’s soft, gracious service, her husband Tom’s superior food.
While small, no-thrills, family-run restaurants serving noodle soups on Somerset are hardly novel, Fuschian stands above. My plan had been to focus on the blackboard specials of Vietnamese, Thai, and Cambodian dishes — always worth a detour — but ended up ordering, based on the smells coming from the neighbouring table, this chicken sate noodle soup. Number 305 on the Fuschian menu.
“Peanuts Okay?” asked An. “Spicy Okay?” And so they were. This was a top-notch bowl, complex in terms of tastes and textures and careful in how it was presented. On the side, the usual stuff – lime wedges, bean sprouts, basil. In the bowl, a rich, creamy broth, thick with peanuts, filled in with tender slices of chicken, vermicelli, onion, cilantro, and cucumber; reddened with chillies; and topped with fried onion, garlic, and chopped peanut.
I perfumed it further with torn basil, added crunch with the raw sprouts, and cut some of the richness with lime juice. It needed no hoisin, no red stuff. It needed nothing, in fact, but my full, head down attention, sticks in one hand, spoon in the other, lips slurping up the long, al dente noodles, prickling comfortably with the chili heat. I walked out with indelible memories of a very satisfying lunch covering my very favourite shirt.
Hours: Closed on Tuesdays.
Fuschian, 726 Somerset St. W., 613-230-6815.