Haiku Asian Bistro
8025 Jericho Tpke Woodbury, NY 516-584-6782
With tables set at wavy-backed couches and glowing lantern-style lights hanging over hardwood floor, the look here is upscale and trendy--but in reality, this is a casual room, and one that handles a steady crowd of locals seeking a pan Asian meal. One of four locations, the Woodbury outpost of Haiku features dishes made with elements found in many Chinese, Japanese and Thai specialties--and you will find them in entrées like wok-sautéed prawns, General Tso's Chicken, pad Thai noodles and stir-fry udon noodles. Sushi, sashimi, soup and salads are all there for lighter options, while the menu holds beer, wine and sake for adult patrons to quench their thirst.Hours:
11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday; Noon-10:30 p.m. Saturday; 12:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Sunday.Ambience:
Like the economical verse form for which it's named, Haiku is all about poetry - the poetry of eating well on a budget.
The pan-Asian restaurant, an offshoot of a Westchester-based chainlet, has the requisite sushi bar with a pebble-covered waterfall behind it.
One meal begins with sprightly slices of jalapeño-topped yellowtail drizzled with yuzu sauce. A special of blue fin tuna toro sashimi is rich and velvety. Four of us share a spicy twin salmon roll made with mango sauce; its components strike a nice balance between the sweet and the fiery.
The wonton soup here is especially fine, its convoluted dumplings filled with a savory pork and shrimp mixture. And vegetarian hot and sour soup has spark to spare.
Three pieces of romaine lettuce accompany a lively stir fry of chicken and pine nuts, to be wrapped, rolled and, perhaps, dipped in a hoisin plum sauce. I also like the tender chicken satays paired with peanut sauce.
A Malaysian red curry made with chicken, tofu and vegetables has compelling complexity. While the "seafood treasure with mild spicy sauce" (an oxymoron for sure) is more mild than spicy, the shrimp, scallops and vegetables are fresh and beautifully cooked. Tender black pepper steak cubes with baby bok choy are rare, as ordered, paired with
crisp-tender greens. Another favorite is wok sauteed prawns - big and succulent - with soy, ginger, leeks and peppers. And I'm powerless to keep my chopsticks out of the pad Thai with shrimp.
Chocolate mousse cake, from an outside source, tastes as good as it looks.
An otherwise fine, fresh salmon avocado roll features rice that's a bit hard. And chicken with spicy mango sauce turns out way more sweet than spicy.
The friendly service slows on busy weekends, when it's hard to hear oneself think. Blame hard surfaces and the incessant blare of techno music.
Small wonder this place is a hit. To avoid crowds, you may want to plan on going on a weeknight. Or at lunch, when two courses will set you back about $10.