Umi Sushi Japanese Cuisine
160 Adams Ave. Hauppauge, NY 631-952-8686
Embedded in a Hauppauge strip mall surrounded by industrial parks is the new Umi Sushi Japanese Cuisine (no relation to the Umi in Oceanside). Situated next door to the perpetually hopping Grill Room, the place offers an oasis of serenity. And raw fish.
A recent dinner kicked off with a rousing bowl of ginger-infused clam soup. The "house" chicken soup was also flavor-intense, filled with pieces of poultry and vegetables.
The fish couldn't have been fresher in the assortment of maki rolls sampled (such as a "crazy T" roll made with black pepper tuna, avocado, honey wasabi and spicy tuna with crunch). The temperature of the rice, however, was far too cold - a common shortfall at so many sushi spots.
In addition to sushi and sashimi entrees ($14-$23), the menu also features the teriyaki, tempura, negimaki standards ($10-$16). Also, a roster of main course noodle soups ($10-$13).
The word "umi," in case you're wondering, means "sea."Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 3"30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday; 12:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday. Ambience: Good Credit cards: Accepted Accessibility: y
Tucked into a Hauppauge strip mall deep within an industrial neighborhood is Umi, a welcoming little Japanese restaurant. Lunchtime, the place bustles; at night, when the bar scene at The Grill Room next door throbs, things seem a bit serene. And even more enticing.
START WITH SOUP
On a chilly night, I'm thankful Umi's soup repertoire goes beyond miso. Warming through and through is a spirited clam soup shot with fresh ginger. "House" chicken soup has lots of flavor, along with chicken and vegetables. Yet the identical broth doesn't work quite so well in the "house" shrimp soup; brinier would be better here.
Raw fish is impeccably fresh, whatever the presentation. Spicy tuna, avocado, jalapeño and tempura crunchies are bound together by marbleized seaweed in the unconventional (but successful) marble roll. The pink lady roll is a real looker: spicy tuna, eel and avocado wrapped with pink soy seaweed. Too bad the cucumber sashimi wrap (with salmon, asparagus and roe) is rendered soggy by its watery cucumber binding.
ON A ROLL
On my first visit, I found the rice too cold in the otherwise fine maki rolls. Glad to see that's been corrected. What shouldn't have been tampered with is the makeup of the chirashi plate, which originally featured creamy uni (sea urchin) along with a lovely array of finfish. Now, I find spicy tuna in place of the uni and an overcooked shrimp added to an otherwise unimpeachable assortment.
Vegetarians (as well as the raw fish-phobic) will want to savor both the peanut-avocado roll and the sweet potato tempura roll. So, too, will most anyone else.
Umi's kitchen holds its own, producing a moist and generous chicken teriyaki, and I like the spicy kick in the chicken yaki soba (stir-fried buckwheat noodles with chicken and vegetables).
Dessert comes down to a choice between fried (banana, cheesecake) and frozen (ice cream). I vote frozen.
Out of the way but worth seeking out.