By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Apr 11, 2013 at 5:02 AM

Though I am hardly the world’s pickiest diner, I am rarely blown away by a restaurant on a first visit. But that’s exactly what happened on a recent stop at Fushimi Sushi & Seafood Buffet, 2116 N. Farwell Ave.

The buffet opened at the beginning of the year and folks on the East Side have already been buzzing about it for a while. It’s easy to see why.

While the exterior isn’t much to behold, step inside and you’ll be confronted with a clean, colorful, classy yet casual decor that feels modern and cheerful, thanks, especially to the pink blossoms throughout. It's the kind of place that makes you want to stay a while.

A blue glow illuminates the buffet table, reminding us that it is the star of the show.

The buffet is $12.95 at lunch and $20.95 Sunday through Thursday at dinner; $23.95 on Friday and Saturday. Sure, it’s more than many of us typically plan to spend at lunch, but, in this case, it’s a real bargain.

First of all, the food is fresh and delicious. I arrived a little early, about 11:30, but the buffet table was fully stocked and everything looked freshly made and appealing.

The restaurant was spotless and the entire staff wore smiles and my server was cheery and helpful, explaining that not only could I eat as much as I wanted from the buffet, I could also order as much of anything I wanted from the printed lunch menu, which had at least two dozen sushi options.

Meanwhile, the hot table boasted shrimp fried rice, vegetable spring rolls, steamed fish, tempura vegetables, stuffed mushrooms, stuffed shrimp, stir fried vegetables, salted edamame and many other items.

Trying to control myself, I took small portions of a number of dishes and all were hot and delicious. The hardest part of this experience would be getting out without overdoing it.

My favorite item on the bar was the "baked oyster," a mix of crab meat, scallops, onions and a creamy sauce baked on an oyster half-shell. This tiny feast in a shell, alone, will keep me coming back.

I also decided to try an item off the menu, so I picked a shrimp tempura roll that had crispy shrimp tempura rolled in white rice with avocado. Like everything else here, it’s some of the best sushi I’ve had in Milwaukee.

The buffet also has a dessert bar with canape-sized slices of assorted cakes, melon and other fruit and little lemon custard tartlets.

There is a full dinner menu, too, with a wide variety of sushi choices, crab legs and more. It’ll take a lot more than one visit to get to know a menu of this breadth. But the process will be an extremely satisfying one.

Fushimi does sushi trays for parties and events, and it does a carry-out buffet, too. There is copious free parking to the north and east of the building (there’s an entrance facing the east lot, too).

Fushimi is open Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. for lunch. Dinner is served Monday-Thursday, 4:30-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 4:30-11 p.m.; Sunday, 12:30-10 p.m. Last seating is half an hour before closing.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.