Aji 53, where cooking goes east and west, now veers north and south, too. The glossy, new Smithtown restaurant takes its splashy sushi theme to this Main Street from Bay Shore's with trademark flair.
It's the latest example of the amped-up, pumped-up, made-up Japanese eatery in overdrive. Aji 53 takes what used to be cuisine beloved for simplicity and freshness and redefines it with extravagance of a very different kind: Sushi, X-Games Edition.
You also can take the traditional route here, but Aji 53 is aiming for a big, curious audience. Early on, the eatery already has found one. And Aji 53 knows how to entertain a crowd.
Soft-shell crab with hot chili sauce actually is more sweet than hot, but definitely crunchy and pretty good. Likewise, the crisp, tender duck salad and the fine seaweed salad. Vegetable tempura also provides a noisy bite, and is recommended. Tangy lemongrass hot-and-sour soup. Aji 53 has fun with some of the "special rolls." The Bay Shore brings together ahi tuna, avocado, spicy salmon and miso sauce for a tasty choice. The Fire Island roll combines shrimp tempura, spicy tuna and wasabi-laced roe, plus a sauce that hints of wasabi and olive. And the tuna taco plays cleverly with textures and flavors. If this seems too much, consider the more familiar sushi. Fatty tuna, fluke, yellowtail and mackerel stand out. There's mellow yaki udon, the plump white noodles, pan-fried with vegetables, chicken or beef. Satisfying teriyakis, bento boxes, fried rice.
Oversweet black cod with yuzu-orange-miso sauce, an unwieldy steak-capped surf-and-turf Smithtown roll, bland beef negimaki, and Aji sandwich with eggplant. Need another tuna pizza? Calamari salad with balsamic vinaigrette? Or ice cream tempura?
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