The 10 best sushi restaurants on Long Island: Eat here now
Sushi, the subtlest of dishes, boomed loudly in 2014.
Whether because of perceived healthfulness, its clean flavor, or just owing to greater availability, raw fish has stayed hot. And Long Island has benefitted from the rush of new restaurants that specialize in it. Sushi may not be as omnipresent as pizza and pasta, but the communities without a place to sample the uncooked taste of the ocean is shrinking.
These are Newsday's choices for the 10 best spots for sushi in Nassau and Suffolk, listed alphabetically.
Arata Sushi(Credit: Newsday / Rebecca Cooney)
Arata Sushi, Syosset: Jimmy Lian's sushi, traditional and contemporary, bridges refined Japanese and creative New American styles. The chef's choice selection is exceptional. Likewise, the familiar nigirizushi. And Lian prepares distinctive sushi such as maguro "invictus" with wasabi-daikon radish dressing (pictured) and an "invincible sandwich" with triangles of salmon, avocado, tomato and roes. You may find Maui onion salsa with fluke or white tuna with salsa verde, too.
Arata Sushi's invincible sandwich roll is a three-sided production that 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.
Be-Ju Sashimi & Sake Bar(Credit: Yana Paskova)
Be-Ju Sashimi & Sake Bar, Melville: Be-Ju immediately elevated sushi on Long Island. It's a serene, elegant dining room situated within buoyant Jewel restaurant. Chefs Tom Schaudel, Shigeki Uchimaya and Hiroki Tanii fashion masterful sushi, especially fatty and medium-fatty tuna. But also select remarkable dishes such as pate-style steamed monkfish liver with sea urchin and ponzu sauce, tea-smoked salmon, a Japanese lobster roll (pictured), shrimp-and-sea urchin risotto, and tuna tataki with black truffle. Lunch specials available.
Wasabi tobiko sushi is served at Be-Ju, a sushi restaurant tucked inside Jewel in Melville.
Domo Sushi(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Domo Sushi, East Setauket: Ken Ming, chef-owner of this contemporary sushi spot, puts a South American spin on such sushi bar items as yellowtail ceviche with ginger and soy (pictured), and tiradito with escolar and yellowtail. His "dynamite" roll -- escolar, tempura flakes, jalapeno, tuna, yellowtail, salmon and lemon-yuzu miso sauce -- is at once fiery and citrusy.
Domo Sushi in East Setauket serves a dynamite roll with escolar, tempura flakes, jalapeno, tuna, yellowtail, salmon and lemon-yuzu miso sauce.
Ginza(Credit: Johnny Simon)
Ginza, Massapequa: East and west are in harmony at Ginza, where fish is flown in from Japan and rack of lamb is served, too. This restaurant rises like a temple in an unlikely location. That's only the first surprise. Savor the pristine sashimi and the ornate sushi rolls, each terrific. Sample the Kobe-beef meatballs. Go for the bluefin toro, the salmon tasting and especially the chef's lustrous, taste-of-the-sea choices of the day. You'll feel refreshed and invigorated.
Ginza in Massapequa serves its icon roll, made with chopped tuna, chopped yellowtail, avocado and chili paste.
Koiso(Credit: Jin Lee)
Koiso, Carle Place: Kyoko and Kikumatsu Mitsumori are the mom and pop who own this old-school Japanese restaurant. Kikumatsu buys much of his own hopping-fresh local fish in Freeport, then expertly slices it with skills honed over 40 years. He's not interested in putting out innovative rolls, and your best bets here are the simplest: nigirizushi, sashimi, chirashi. Kyoko is responsible for the cooked menu, including gyoza, ramen and donburi (rice bowls).
Homemade fried dumplings are served at Koiso in Carle Place.
Matsuya(Credit: Jeremy Bales)
Matsuya, Great Neck: Matsuya is subtitled "quality Japanese eats." It goes in several directions here, not all Japanese. But the essential Matsuya is found in the uncooked fish. The multi-ingredient sushi rolls -- including the fuzzy bass roll, pictured, with tempura crisped sea bass, avocado, spicy romaine slaw and tobiko -- are satisfying. You should, however, stick with the nigirizushi. Buttery yellowtail, beef-red maguro tuna, pearly fluke, Spanish mackerel and horse mackerel, sweet shrimp and, if available, fatty tuna.
Matsuya's barbecued oysters appetizer.
Nagashima(Credit: Nicole Horton)
Nagashima, Jericho: No bells and whistles (or flashing lights or orchids or banana leaves) at Nagashima, just impeccably fresh, immaculately sliced fish on properly seasoned rice. Sit at the sushi bar and chef-owner Makoto Kobayashi will explain the difference in taste between summer fluke and winter fluke. He'll break out the fresh wasabi and use a sharkskin paddle to grate it, expound on the finer points of sake. Drink (and eat) it all in.
Onsen Sushi(Credit: Newsday / Rebecca Cooney)
Onsen Sushi, Oakdale: At this local favorite, chef-owner Jason Chen's lively personality doesn't detract from his true forte: serving up fresh, well-cut raw fish. His specials board offers such items as wild salmon, live scallops and uni, all beautifully presented. Try the "yellow submarine" maki roll, spicy yellowtail juxtaposed against the cool sweetness of chopped apple. (Pictured is the Victoria roll with spicy, crunchy tuna and avocado wrapped in pink soy paper.)
Onsen Sushi serves classics including a salmon bento box.
Sushi Ko(Credit: Yana Paskova)
Sushi Ko, Merrick: Chef-owner James Wang once worked for Japanese sea captains and understands fresh, high quality raw fish. Try his truffle white tuna appetizer; it's delicate and subtly truffled. Sushi and sashimi is pristine, artfully cut. Even his ornate maki rolls come together well. (Pictured, the hot white dragon roll with escolar, jalapeno, seaweed salad and seared yellowtail dusted with chili powder.)
Sushi Ko's TNT appetizer is tuna topped with black caviar and a quail egg.
Taka(Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus)
Taka, Westbury: To fully appreciate chef-owner Taka Yamaguchi's artistry, settle in at the sushi bar and ask for the omakase, chef's choice. Depending on season (and whim), you might be served marinated mackerel, Arctic char, Spanish mackerel topped with ginger and scallion (pictured), yellowtail sushi with its own little belt of shiso leaf, fluke, toro (belly tuna) so fatty it was pink, or raw sweet shrimp.
Sashimi deluxe at Taka in Westbury.