Lunch at Yamaguchi in Port Washington

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Negiya-maki (grilled beef-scallion roll) at Yamaguchi in Port

Negiya-maki (grilled beef-scallion roll) at Yamaguchi in Port Washington. Newsday photo / Erica Marcus (March 31, 2011) Photo Credit: Newsday photo / Erica Marcus

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The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.

Yamaguchi is one of my very favorite Japanese restaurants on Long Island. Utterly traditional, it scoffs at Asian-fusion trends; no pad thai here. Not only is a big chunk of the restaurant’s clientele Japanese, so are virtually all the sushi chefs and servers.

The truth is I don’t often eat at Yamaguchi because it always seems to be mobbed. Last Thursday I got there at 12:15 … and I managed to snag the last seat at the sushi bar.

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While I waited for my sashimi, I was served soup and salad. As befits a really good Japanese restaurant, the miso soup was delicious, the salad over-chilled, rife with iceberg lettuce and basically inedible. Sashimi showed up and was perfect, and so was this negiya-maki, beef rolled round scallions, grilled and topped with a very light teriyaki sauce.

Since I was at the very end of the sushi bar, I could see around to the other side and noticed a huge jar of something called Hellmann’s Extra Heavy Mayonnaise. When I got back to the office I learned, from Unilever’s website, that I had uncovered “A food service exclusive! We add extra egg yolks to our trade secret Hellmann's® REAL recipe for an extra-thick, extra-curdy viscosity that food service professionals appreciate. This thicker, more eggy mayonnaise is preferred by some chefs for adding extra-rich flavor and texture to sandwiches and for use in demanding recipe applications.”

As they say in Japan, “go know.”

Yamaguchi is at 63 Main St., Port Washington, 516-883-3500.

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