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

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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.

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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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