Chirashi, which, in Japanese means "scattered," describes an assortment of raw fish and garnishes strewn over vinegared sushi rice. Traditionally, chirashi is presented in a bowl, but often, it shows up on a plate. What matters most is that the fish is immaculately fresh and well-cut.
Here are four Long Island restaurants -- all in strip malls -- where the chirashi fits that description. Keep in mind that while surimi or artificial crab meat, is often included, you can always ask for it to be omitted.
KUSHI JAPANESE FUSION, 127-23 Smithtown Blvd., Nesconset, 631-366-1688
At this destination sushi spot, chef Eric Wu's chirashi features impeccable finfish and tamago.
OSAKA, 99-8 Rte. 25A, Shoreham, 631-821-1688
Shoreham's sole Japanese restaurant serves beautifully arranged fish and pickled vegetables in its chirashi bowl.
KUMO, 18 Manetto Hill Mall, Plainview, 516-681-8881
The chirashi plate at this high-energy sushi spot is a generous array that changes according to the chef's discretion. Usually, there's fluke, yellowtail, tuna, salmon and Spanish mackerel, all plated with artistry.
At the heart of Hazuki is the sushi bar of chef Tank Gao. Gao's chirashi is a plentiful array of fresh finfish (with the obligatory piece of surimi and cooked shrimp) and tamago (sweet omelet) arranged on a platter of rice garnished with pickled vegetables.