Crazy sushi rolls on Long Island
Long Island sushi is on a roll. It's also in a roll, about a roll and often dedicated to creating what only can be termed the extreme roll. Sushi and sashimi, the uncooked fish that star at the minimalist peak of Japanese cuisine, become the point of departure for maximum impact.
Here are 10 of Long Island's certifiably crazy rolls. They taste good, too.
Viaduct roll, Kotobuki(Credit: Nicole Horton)
Viaduct Roll at Kotobuki, Roslyn: Sitting in the shadow of a six-year-long reconstruction of the viaduct that carries Northern Boulevard over Hempstead Harbor, Kotobuki came up with this tribute roll: Your choice of seared salmon or peppered tuna wrapped around crab or lobster salad, served on a sweet chili sauce. (They serve the roll at Kotobuki locations in Hauppauge and Babylon, but to a largely unknowing clientele.)
Fuzzy bass roll, Matsuya(Credit: Jeremy Bales)
Fuzzy bass roll at Matsuya, Great Neck: Why is the bass fuzzy? No, it hasn't been drinking. Actually, it derives its name from the jagged edges of its tempura crust. Bundled in with the bass are avocado and spicy romaine slaw -- but, refreshingly, no spicy tuna. $15.50.
Volcano roll, Blackstone Steakhouse(Credit: Newsday / Rebecca Cooney)
Volcano roll at Blackstone Steakhouse, Melville: With king crab, pepper tuna and honey-wasabi sauce, it's also true to the pyrotechnic name and ignited tableside.
Billy what's up roll, Show Win(Credit: Newsday / Rebecca Cooney)
Billy what's up roll at Show Win, Northport: Among the 50-odd rolls at Show Win is this intriguingly named number, featuring the ubiquitous spicy tuna with yellowtail and three greens: avocado, asparagus and sinus-clearing wasabi-infused roe. As for the answer to the question posed by its name: Better ask Billy.
Banana roll, Sushi Ko(Credit: Newsday / Rebecca Cooney)
Banana roll at Sushi Ko, Merrick: This is where salmon and cream cheese (but no bagel) meet tempura-fried banana (dessert time already?). Wrapped in soy paper, crowned with eel sauce and roe, this is one roll gone bananas.
Victoria roll, Onsen Sushi(Credit: Newsday / Rebecca Cooney)
Victoria roll at Onsen Sushi, Oakdale,: It starts with spicy, crunchy tuna and avocado. Peanuts add the requisite crunch. Then, it's all wrapped up in pink soy paper -- Victoria, the customer for whom it's named, favors pink -- and topped with the ketchup of the sushi world, mango sauce.
Scottish goat roll, Nisen Sushi(Credit: Newsday / Rebecca Cooney)
Scottish goat roll at Nisen Sushi, Commack: A Highlands Olympics event? A barnyard animal wearing a Tam-o' Shanter? Wacky name aside, this roll is a montage of all things popular. Like goat cheese. And Scottish salmon (here, seared, ginger-marinated). And portobello mushrooms. Just try naming something that isn't balsamic-glazed these days. The finishing touch: jalapeño salsa.
Icon roll, Ginza(Credit: Newsday / Rebecca Cooney)
Icon roll at Ginza, Massapequa: Ginza embodies the subtlety of sushi -- except when chili paste is added to the icon roll, giving tuna, chopped yellowtail and avocado a very different dimension. Chamber music becomes arena rock.
Surf 'n' turf roll, Insignia(Credit: Newsday / Rebecca Cooney)
Surf 'n' turf roll at Insignia, Smithtown: Befitting this invariably unrestrained steakhouse and sushi specialist, the surf 'n' turf roll is made with lobster, king crab, seared Kobe beef, and, to ensure that too-much-isn't-enough style, white truffle oil.
Invincible sandwich roll, Arata Sushi(Credit: Newsday / Rebecca Cooney)
Invincible sandwich roll at Arata Sushi, Syosset: In a world of cylinders, Arata triangulates. The unconquerable, three-sided production takes in salmon, avocado, tobiko or flying-fish roe, and that ever-elusive "special sauce," which here includes spring onion, mayonnaise and mirin, the condiment loosely related to sake.