Location: 127-23 Smithtown Blvd. Nesconset, NY 11767
Description: Eric Wu is a raw-fish craftsman -- cutting, rolling and plating with artistry and elan. ... More »
Eric Wu is a raw-fish craftsman -- cutting, rolling and plating with artistry and elan. Like his business partner, Jason Chen, with whom he also owns Onsen in Oakdale, he's a guy with great people skills. Even if you've only been to his unassuming little strip mall spot Kushi Japanese Fusion once, you're treated as a regular -- both by Wu and the rest of the cheerful crew.
Dinner kicks off with a gratis little raw-fish confection combining salmon and spicy salmon. Like most of the rolls here, it's got lovely lightness of texture. The same holds true of the ornate Victoria roll, spicy tuna with tempura flakes, avocado and chopped peanut wrapped in pink soy paper and topped with mango sauce. The simpler yet equally successful super white roll pairs white tuna with spicy white tuna plus a hit of wasabi sauce. In contrast, you get a cool jolt from chopped apple in the yellow submarine roll, a firecracker starring spicy yellowtail.
A special one day is live scallop, sliced and fanned out against its shell. Such silliness, though, plating it atop a mountain of chopped ice illuminated by an eerie blue light. Presented simply but more effectively are velvety rich toro sashimi and softly sumptuous king salmon. Among sushi bar appetizers: straightforward black pepper tuna tataki and a clever raw-fish "pizza sandwich."
The kitchen sends forth spicy squid, a piquant stir-fry of calamari and vegetables. Duck tortilla brings to mind Peking duck. It's a standout.
An entree of chirashi features impeccable finfish and tamago brought down only slightly by the inclusion of surimi and cooked shrimp. A bento box dinner stars two main choices -- in one case, flawless sushi as well as slightly chewy beef negimaki; included is a California roll light as a pouf, shumai (shrimp dumpling) plus a nothing-special salad.
What is special is the mixed seafood yaki udon, savory pliant noodles, bright vegetables, shrimp, scallops and squid. Salmon teriyaki is moist and flavorful, despite being a trifle overcooked.
Skip the fried ice cream; it's heavy and gooey. The food here deserves more -- or, actually, less. Sip some green tea and plan your return.