Asian fusion, the most recent trendlet to ripple across Long Island, often reminds you of a combo plate, with a little for everyone. Sometimes, it seems like an insurance policy for a risk-averse kitchen. But to work, Asian fusion must be more than a mishmash of cuisines. And there are dining rooms where the twain truly meet. Here are 10. The favorite: Monsoon in Babylon. --PETER M. GIANOTTIemail@example.com and JOAN REMINICKfirstname.lastname@example.org
TOP PICK: MONSOON, Babylon: Monsoon was the best high-end restaurant to open on Long Island last year: bold, inventive cooking in a setting to match. A stone, high-ceiling, former Bank of Babylon building houses it. Chef Michael Wilson defines it. Outstanding dumplings and steamed buns, stirring "shaking beef," a tour-de-force kung pao monkfish with a Sichuan-chile glaze, "caramel" pork with shallots and garlic, a kimchee pancake, yellowfin tuna spring roll, "millionaire's" curried crab, and General Tso's chicken that earns its rank are among the winners. Excellent cocktails, attentive service and visually a performance.
Executive chef Michael Wilson in the Monsoon dining room. (April 9, 2012)
On the sushi menu is the eponymous Monsoon roll, with Maine lobster, spicy tuna, avocado and spicy mayonnaise. (April 9, 2012)
Monsoon serves a whole Peking duck for two with cucumber, scallions, hoisin sauce and steamed buns. (April 9, 2012)
Monsoon's dim sum menu includes vegetable dumplings served with a sesame-soy sauce. (April 9, 2012)
FANCY LEE, Babylon: Making its home in a former diner, this family-friendly Asian-fusion spot transcends the everyday with the likes of a flaky Indian roti pancake with coconut chicken curry sauce and delectable ganga duck roll. From the sushi bar comes knockout king salmon carpaccio. Don't miss the flaming toban yaki clay pot beef -- dinner theater, for sure.
Fancy Lee occupies the space of a former diner. (Oct. 6, 2012)
Ganga-style duck roll is one of the Asian-fusion inspired appetizers served at Fancy Lee. (Oct. 6, 2012)
KASHI SUSHI & STEAK HOUSE, Rockville Centre: The hibachi is only a side show at the very energized Kashi, the Nassau offspring of the Huntington original. Yes, you can enjoy the pyrotechnics, the filet mignon and the salmon. But veer toward chu chu lobster, or lobster salad with pepper tuna and coconut guacamole; the blue-crab fajita; roasted duck with lime, mint, hoisin reduction; a duck wrap with avocado; Kobe beef meatballs; almond-crusted red snapper; black-and-brown shrimp-and-lobster risotto; tuna tartare with sun-dried tomatoes and jalapeños; lemongrass hot-and-sour soup; the familiar sushi rolls, and riffs named "Twister" and "Sunset Blvd."
A hibachi chef juggles an egg as diners look on at Kashi Sushi & Steakhouse, a restaurant in Rockville Centre serving Asian fusion cuisine. (Aug. 24 , 2012)
An artfully prepared sushi and sashimi platter, courtesy of Kashi head chef Andy Lin. (Aug. 24, 2012)
KUSHI JAPANESE FUSION, Nesconset: Sushi, an essential component at almost all Asian Fusion restaurants, is cut and rolled with precision and care by effusive co-owner Eric Wu. But the kitchen also draws deftly on other influences outside Japan for such dishes as its duck tortilla -- an inventive take on Peking duck -- as well as its spicy squid stir-fry of calamari and vegetables.
Kushi chef and co-owner Eric Wu. (Dec. 1, 2012)
Kushi's tuna foie gras is seared with a tuna carpaccio and served in a sauce of homemade honey mustard with truffle oil. (Dec. 1, 2012)
NISEN RESTAURANT WOODBURY, Woodbury: Nisen delivers a showstopping look, with dramatic lighting, textures and colors. It could be a movie set. Many of the dishes have impressive production values, too. From the west comes roast Lola duck with Savoyarde potatoes and a blood orange-Port wine reduction; and roast chicken with garlic-mashed potatoes. Start your segue with king crab pizza and a Kobe-beef slider trio with condiments such as wasabi ketchup, spicy mango and Dijon mustard. Go east with miso cod lettuce wraps, creamy edamame puree, and attention-grabbing special sushi rolls. "TNT" features bluefin and bigeye tuna, mango, avocado, more.
Nisen Sushi is a restaurant on Jericho Turnpike in Woodbury serving Asian fusion cuisine. (April 25, 2013)
Chefs at the Nisen sushi bar prepare a plate at Nisen. (April 25, 2013)
Nisen's Lola duck is served with a blood-orange wine reduction. (April 25, 2013)
Nisen's TNT roll consists of tuna, avocado, mango and chopped toro served with garlic chips and truffle soy dressing. (April 25, 2013)
RUBY ASIAN FUSION & SUSHI BAR, Woodbury: Thoughtful service plus a knowing kitchen make Ruby Asian Fusion more than just another sleek sushi and stir-fry spot. Soups are a forte, whether it's the appetizer-sized spicy Chilean sea bass soup or the roast duck and egg noodle meal-in-a-bowl. Other standouts: juicy Vietnamese pork chops, nuanced spicy garlic chicken and resonant eggplant and tofu with basil garlic sauce.
Ruby Asian Fusion features a flashy dining room with large booths, mirrors and colorful light installations. (Jan. 5, 2012)
Sushi chef Allen Zhuo tops a sushi roll with a spicy sauce at Ruby Asian Fusion. (Jan. 5, 2012)
Ruby Asian Fusion's sashimi sampler plate. (Jan. 5, 2012)
Stir-fried garlic eggplant is served at Ruby Asian Fusion. (Jan. 5, 2012)
THOM THOM, Wantagh: Steak house, sushi and fusion fare come together to the beat, beat, beat of the Thom Thom. The restaurant is equally confident whether making lobster bisque, rack of lamb, seafood paella or a sushi pizza. The house's kung pao calamari with ground peanuts sets the standard for this clever union. The Maryland crabcake is just as good, fueled with a red-pepper rémoulade sauce. Crunchy "bang bang" shrimp is a solid starter. The sushi rolls are uniformly recommended, as are the serious steaks, from filet mignon to strip to porterhouse -- with, of course, either Béarnaise sauce or a teriyaki glaze.
Thom Thom in Wantagh serves classic dishes in a modern dining room. (June 4, 2011)
Thom Thom's surf-and-turf roll.
Thom Thom's chocolate bag: chocolate, coconut and vanilla ice cream, topped with fresh whipped cream, strawberries, bruleed bananas, caramel and chocolate sauce. (Jun. 4, 2011)
TING, Huntington: Ting is a very polished newcomer, at ease East or West. Service is accommodating and knowledgeable. And the place looks the part. Creamy butternut squash soup is as good as the chicken or beef satay. The bonito-crusted crabcake vies successfully with yellowtail jalapeño, sushi tacos, and tuna dumplings. Red snapper carpaccio arrives with spicy yuzu dressing. The crunch of jicama adds a Latin note to chicken Soong. Tomato salsa complements crisp calamari. The beet salad with blue cheese and watercress is refreshing. And the kitchen prepares a commendable, one-course Beijing duck, too.
Ting has an ornately decorated sushi bar where head sushi chef Jacky Zheng, left, rolls out a wide variety of fish and raw shellfish. (Feb. 2, 2013)
Oysters on the half shell are garnished with bayberry, cilantro, chili sauce and chopped onion at Ting. (Feb. 2, 2013)
Ting's sandwich roll, with spicy tuna, salmon and avocado wrapped in sesame paper. (Feb. 2, 2013)
TOKU MODERN ASIAN, Manhasset: Toku Modern Asian suits the Miracle Mile and the Americana shopping center with its opulence, and all appetites with its consistently stylish, flavorful food. The decor includes an illuminated onyx bar and 19th century wooden bells. The cuisine takes in fluke tiradito and lobster taco, Beijing duck salad and Kobe beef-shishito pepper skewers, roasted lobster with udon noodles and lobster with black bean sauce, Chinese sausage with Thai basil and braised pork belly with pickled red cabbage and coconut juice. Allow for the pork buns, steamed sea bass rolls, and a round of glass noodles with shiitakes and snow peas.
Patrons dine at Toku in Manhasset. (April 25, 2013)
Toku's octopus carpaccio.
The taco appetizer at Toku in Manhasset.
Toku's crispy whole red snapper, served with a sweet soy-honey sauce. (April 25, 2013)
WEST EAST ALL NATURAL BISTRO & WINE BAR, Hicksville: The transformation of West East Bistro lights up South Broadway, Jay Jadeja has joined Danny Wu as co-owner and chef. The new emphasis is on the grass-fed, the free-range, and the sustainably farmed, for a trifecta of quality and correctness. Pork-and-shrimp pot stickers, Vietnamese-style spring rolls, and chicken Soong-style lettuce wraps are fine openers. Hot-and-sour soup deserves its adjectives. And the Painted Hills beef is superior. There's also snappy Malaysian red curry with chicken; "Kerala" rainbow trout with coconut curry, and a distinctive macaroni-and-cheese with toasted duck bacon.
After five years of lighting up a dim stretch of South Broadway in Hicksville, West East All Natural Bistro & Bar has added more wattage, in the design and in the kitchen. (March 2, 2013)
West East chef-owner Jay Jadeja, originally from India via Europe and now of Hicksville, works behind the scenes in his kitchen. (March 2, 2013)
Malaysian red curry with chicken is served at West East All Natural Bistro and Bar in Hicksville. (March 2, 2013)