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Originally published Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 7:02 PM

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Dining Deals

Fuji Bakery offers eye-pleasing, tasty, artisan-style pastries and more in Bellevue and Seattle

Fuji Bakery in Bellevue and Seattle offers an array of Japanese and European baked goods and sandwiches.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Fuji Bakery

Japanese-European

1502 145th Place S.E., Bellevue, 425-641-4050

www.fujibakeryinc.comNote: Small bakery site located at 526 S. King St., Seattle, 206-623-4050

Hours: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday and holidays.

Etc: Major credit cards accepted; free mall parking lot; no obstacles to access; takeout and custom orders for cake available.

Prices: $

Upon entering Fuji Bakery situated in the corner of a small Bellevue shopping mall, your five senses kick into high gear.

Then your hands quickly take control as you pick up a basket lined with wax paper and tongs to choose from the vast array of Japanese and European baked goods.

Take one, take all, at this delectable self-service bakery.

Owner Akihiro Nakamura opened shop in May 2009 and wasted no time hiring head baker Takahito Hirai, who worked as a pastry chef with renowned chef Joël Robuchon at his Michelin's restaurant in Tokyo. Another standout is Yushi Osawa, a former pastier in Japan.

The main motto, says Nakamura, is to provide healthy and tasty artisan-style treats using organic and additive-free ingredients.

In October 2010, Nakamura opened up a small shop in the Chinatown International District, where freshly baked items are delivered each morning from Bellevue.

The menu: Sweet and savory items shine here, but don't overlook the 5-½-inch baguette sandwiches ($2.99). Your head will spin when you look around at all the sweet treats ($1.25-$4) along with freshly baked breads (pan), curry beef "piroshki" buns, red-bean buns and other daily specials ($2.50-$4). They also make cakes infused with mango, strawberry, tiramisu and green tea, and a fruit tart and mousse ($35-$65).

What to write home about: Focaccia with seasonal grilled vegetables ($2.99); curry quiche ($3.50) with shrimp, thyme and green onion; poire ($2.50), a vanilla-flavored pear custard that had a light, flaky crust; brioche fromage or brioche wild salmon ($1.25); and my kids loved the milk stick ($1.50), a soft breadstick layered inside with condensed milk and other "secret buttery" ingredients.

The setting: Counter service in Bellevue. Counter service and one small table at the Seattle bakery.

Summing up: Four of us got filled on three baguette sandwiches, one vegetable focaccia, one ham and egg salad sandwich ($3.99), two quiche and two brioches. We also took home some desserts: a poire, fraise (strawberry) custard ($2.50), kouign amann ($2.50) and three milk sticks. The bill: $39, including tax.

Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or myuasa@seattletimes.com

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