The intersection of Union and Richland Ave. in Athens has long hosted a walk-up Asian food option, until very recently when O’Betty’s expanded here with a short lived second location. Now Fusion has opened up shop in the corner spot, a noodle house with Chinese and Thai styles. Fusion has some spectacular things to try, and really it’s a great use for the spot. As with some of the other newer spots, this isn’t the kind of food you can find in other parts of Athens very easily. And it’s good to go.
The noodle dishes come from a variety of styles and preparation styles. To go along with them are several appetizers which are a little more generic. Still, there are plenty of great things to try. Among them:
- Sweet and Spicy Udon: Udon noodles with broccoli, carrots, and red peppers in a sweet and spicy ginger-soy sauce with sesame seeds, shiitake mushroom, bean sprouts and chopped cilantro. The noodles are thick and caramelized and really just go well with some spring rolls or something light.
- Pad Thai: Rice noodles with carrots, green chilies, garlic, fresh lime juice, sautéed with our homemade Pad Thai dressing, Asian sprouts, peanuts and cilantro. It’s got a little bit of kick, not terribly spicy, but still good.
- Rice Noodles: With local eggs and mixed veggies for a simple stir fry.
- Crab Rangoon: The much-loved Rangoon is delicious, heavy on the cream cheese and only a little crab. Still great though. The sweet sauce could use some improvement.
- Spring rolls: Crispy and very heavy, these rolls have a ton of veggies and some other things inside them. A little greasy though.
The atmosphere is a great one, it’s sort of low-key, much of the former restaurant concepts remain here. I don’t know how I feel about the contention that their pad Thai is “great hangover food,” but still, it’s a good place, and the price points seem to be good for the college kids of Ohio University. The people running the spot are pretty agreeable, and all told I found the whole experience to be easy to love.
Fusion has a definite niche that some of the Chinese places in town before it lacked. The spot does a larger variety of noodles and more kinds of food you can’t find at other restaurants. Indeed, maybe it would be a good spot for international students to try too. In all, though, Fusion was a pretty good experience.
- The noodle house has some appetizers if you want something more substantial than a noodle bowl.
- They can also be made to go, which is about the best way to eat on the go in a college town like Athens.
- I recommend the Udon. I also thought the pad Thai was good too.