Lima Restaurant Rebrands Itself As Fujimar, Ditches Shared Name With Controversial Peruvian President

WASHINGTON -- The restaurant formerly known as Lima is rebranding itself as Fujimar, opening in mid-February at 1401 K St. NW. The downstairs nightclub, Lima Lounge, will remain in operation.

Fujimar will serve up modern Asian-Latin fare from chef Raynold Mendizabal, who also helmed the kitchen at Lima. Don't confuse it for a typical fusion restaurant, though: Mendizabal told Bisnow Media last month that the concept draws on the intermingling of Asian immigrants in countries like Peru and Cuba.

"They have a culinary history, and when they come here, they encounter different ingredients. They adapted to the new circumstances, and the food is very interesting," Raynold told Bisnow.

The still-in-the-works menu seems to be playing up similarities between Asian and Latin cuisine -- ceviche and sushi, for example, are both made with raw and near-raw fish. A release revealed both will be made with unusual seafood delicacies like Tasmanian King Salmon and Hapu'up'u. Other menu items include braised short ribs with a sweet and sour ponzu sauce and barbecued chicken with butter and soy sauce.

Will the fish be sustainable? The release's language fell just short of that word:

"Our sashimi-quality fish," [owner Masoud Aboughaddareh] said, "will be shipped the very same day it is captured in the pristine, nutrient rich and unpolluted Hawaiian Pacific waters. Hooked, line-caught or speared by divers within American waters to ensure strict fishing regulations, our fish is chosen with great care, knowledge and sensitivity for preserving the environmental heritage of the world's most coveted seafood."

Although Fujimar has yet to open, it's already been inciting some controversy. The report from Bisnow Media revealed that it was originally named "Fujimori," which was a bit questionable since Peru's former president, Japanese immigrant Alberto Fujimori, is such a polarizing figure.

DCist explains:

While he is credited for rescuing the country from economic insolvency and a violent left-wing insurgency, he's also accused of using some pretty harsh methods to do so. Since 2007, in fact, Fujimori has been in prison for a number of human rights violations, including using a death squad to do some of his government's bidding against the notoriously violent Shining Path terrorist organization. ... In short, while most people may not recognize the person behind the name, it's an oddly controversial choice for a name -- especially for a city as international as the District is.

Fujimori is still in jail for human rights crimes. At any rate, the name changed to Fujimar. Neither Mendizabal or Aboughaddareh have commented publicly about whether Peruvian politics played a role.

It wouldn't be the first dustup (or rebranding) for Mendizabal. He also owned Dupont Circle burger joint Rogue States, which renamed itself Black and Orange after a mouth-watering legal scuffle with neighboring law firm Steptoe & Johnson. The former accused Rogue Statues of not properly venting its burger fumes, took the restaurant to court and won.

To be fair, it's not easy to go up against a big law firm. In the wake of the case, Black and Orange has thrived, recently opening a second location on 14th Street NW.

Popular in the Community