Decades ago a middle-aged woman who seemed to be educated and a very hard worker opened this restaurant trying to introduce a certain "hominess" to the food. There is a corresponding branch on the East Side. The Columbus branch is now under the management of her son. Over the years there is a steady decline in the quality of food and service.
My disappointment at the decline of this restaurant culminated last Chinese New Year when I ordered the deep-fried snapper. Half of the fish seemed to have been harvested for other use and the fish itself was fishy. It is a great offense and I left vowing never to return. However, then convenience came into question, so I went back again. Food is so...so... some of the young service people are chatting away less, and have learned a certain amount of basic manners. No one is there to make it better. It got a good review sometime ago and it has been sitting on its laurels. You rarely see the son the way one did the mother and it makes a difference.
When they remodeled they added a Japanese menu, refreshingly not pretending to be Japanese. The problem with non-Japanese doing Japanese food is always the same: Many of them don't like Japanese food. So they don't go elsewhere to eat Japanese, or their owners are too cheap to send them to real Japanese restaurants. The success of NOBU seems to have given permission to anyone doing whatever with raw seafood. It is not bad, but it is not Japanese. The sea food at China Fun is not quite top grade, the slices are too thick. The temperature of the fish is all the same, which is wrong. Sometimes there is still water in the fish. And the fake wasabi! The cooked Japanese food, as in many Upper West Side "Japanese" restaurants, is beneath commenting.
Our immigration policies since 9/11 has not stopped terrorists with means but have certainly made life impossible for hardworking people who want to come here and make our lives better. Japanese chefs cannot get visas from our consulates, and they won't come illegally. So Japanese restaurants here have to close shop or hire non-Japanese people to prepare Japanese food. If they are Asian, no one would even question. That's a problem: Train someone quickly and expect them to do well. I should think there is more to cooking than that.