A fresh look and all-new menus at two Guam Reef & Olive Spa Resort restaurants give guests and Guam residents alike a new take on fast-casual fusion dining, combining the best of Asian and European cuisines with the fun, laidback atmosphere of Tumon Bay.
Opened in early July, the new Yoshoku-Ya Sango, formerly Waon, and Rica & Rico, formerly Main, debuted at Guam Reef with Executive Chef Makoto Fujigaya, a Japanese chef celebrated among Guam's own Japanese community.
Fujigaya, who's been working in restaurants since 1973, brought with him his commitment to cooking everything – seriously, everything – from scratch, from sauces all the way to the pounds and pounds of pasta served to more than 100 customers each day.
"I can make everything," Fujigaya says. "Also pizza, pasta. ... I use all fresh pasta, not ready made, not frozen; homemade, every day ... because all fresh."
Fujigaya came from LeoPalace Resort where he worked as the grand chef, in charge of seven separate restaurants serving French, barbecue, Japanese, Chinese and Korean food, among other cuisines and cooking styles.
Clearly, variety is Fujigaya's flavor of choice.
Career turning point
"My concept is all mixed up, mixed dishes," he says. Fujigaya trained as a chef in his home country of Japan for years, working at the famed Dai-Ichi Hotel before joining Guam's own Dai-Ichi Hotel (now Fiesta Resort Guam) as grand chef. He was only supposed to stay for a few years, but when the end of his contract was approaching, he asked to stay longer.
"Then the company decide to send me to Europe to study," Fujigaya says, adding that he was sent to France to study the country's famous cuisine. Fujigaya's time in France was a turning point in his career: Now, the art of French cooking and his own Asian roots are infused in everything Fujigaya creates.
And that makes him a perfect fit for the Guam Reef, where Fujigaya says most guests are eager to try CHamoru dishes or Western food like hamburgers or spaghetti.
Japanese-Western fusion and Pacific Rim cuisine
Gone are the days of Japanese dishes like sashimi and tempura, menu items Fujigaya says hampered Waon's kitchen. Step into Yoshoku-Ya Sango today and you'll instead find Japanese-Western fusion dishes topped with Fujigaya's made-from-scratch sauces: subtle demi-glaces, rich bolognese or robust pomodoro sauce, to name a few.
Rica & Rico, meanwhile, offers guests a full Pacific Rim-inspired buffet, featuring CHamoru favorites alongside Filipino, Vietnamese and other Pacific region cuisines, as well as made-to-order entrees like a Szechuan Crusted Rack of Lamb with garlic rosemary jus and Pan Fried Seabass Fillet with garlic-whipped potato and wasabi lemon butter sauce.
For those looking for Japanese-inspired dishes, however, you'll still find plenty of tempting options at Yoshoku-Ya Sango, which offers a beef Hamburg steak with Japanese sauce, a tuna poke bowl, ramen, marinated seafood with spicy Asian sauce and even Japanese spaghetti.
'We serve until last minute'
Guests can also be assured of quick service, particularly at Rica & Rico buffet, which gives guests the option of made-to-order entrees and a sprawling buffet, as Fujigaya knows his customers have busy schedules and lots of sightseeing to do between meals. And unlike some restaurants that close the kitchen before closing their doors, Fujigaya says guests can order up to the last minute.
"We serve until last minute," he says. "Other restaurant is before 10 minutes, 15 minutes, sometimes 30 minutes. ... This restaurant, until 2 (p.m.) a customer (can) come in ... and we cook it."
Fujigaya then took off to the Yoshoku-Ya Sango kitchen to whip up a quick plate of Tomato Spaghetti Pescatore, sauteing aromatic seafood that sat on a bed of homemade pasta, served alongside crusty garlic bread.
Your wallet will be happy, too, after a meal at either Yoshoku-Ya Sango or Rica & Rico, as many entrees come in around $15 and portions are generous.