Before you reach a table, ToA Asian Fusion greets you with a selfie station. That’s confidence.
The “ToA” stands for “Taste of Asia.” You’ll take a cheerful tour, some of it first-class, with familiar emphases on Japan and China, plus an occasional side trip to Thailand, Korea and Malaysia. This splashy newcomer is across the street from The Paramount in downtown Huntington and knows how to put on a show.
Diners get one from the design, an alternately bright and subdued combination, from serene, oversize black-and-white photos of spices and sashimi prep to twin round mirrors behind the sushi bar to see the action or become part of it.
Comfortable booths line one wall, a banquette extends along another. The center-stage seating for larger groups needs only a spotlight. But there are enough cellphones working to heighten the lighting and illuminate the action, even if you’re merely a spectator. TVs set to white-noise news channels keep you marginally connected to the outside world.
The wandering cuisine of ToA eventually leads you to the sushi, which include a MoCA roll, unveiling the acronym affection of the owners, who also operate MoCA Asian Bistro in Woodbury. Despite one less letter, ToA now outdoes MoCA, which is shorthand for “modern culinary art.”
ToA’s artistry starts with fine dim sum dumplings and buns, especially the pan-fried pork bun and the crystal seafood dumpling. Share a sampler. Enjoy four tasty soups, from better-than-usual miso and mini-wonton numbers to lively Thai lemongrass and shrimp dumpling noodle productions.
Skip the dry, chewy “Malaysian style” beef kebabs and the almost-as-arid chicken satay. Instead, nibble on lobster tacos, with tender shellfish, mango salsa and a spark of jalapeño. The yellowtail-jalapeño opener fans out prettily and delivers the right amount of heat. The eggplant tempura “sandwich” with spicy tuna, salmon and lobster salad is over-orchestrated but pretty good.
The chef’s choice of sushi and sashimi, or omakase, offers generously cut, lustrous finfish. It may be preceded by an artful creation, perhaps a union of whitefish and snow crab. Look for the daily seafood specials, which may take in live scallops, sea urchin, surf clam and amberjack.
Chinese dishes are led by Beijing duck, with steamed buns, lacquered skin and tender meat; and a flavor-packed spin on sautéed, Sichuan-style, dry, crisp beef. The Thai red curry also is recommended, with either vegetables or chicken.
The Oreo tempura and “peanut butter explosion” vie with tiramisu and what’s billed as a chocolate soufflé. No need to take a bite — or a photo.