Arata Sushi swiftly slices its niche in the top tier of Long Island's inventive, modern Japanese restaurants. Jimmy Lian wields the knife.
Lian, a young veteran of the Nobu empire, gets your attention with sharp sashimi and sushi, eye-catching and updated. His show is under way at the former site of Tsubo. The changeover is remarkable, for the seafood and the style.
The restaurant definitely looks better, despite the faux-brick wainscoting. A brush stroke design makes one wall suggest the outline of a forest. And the sushi bar itself is brighter, spotlighting Lian's diamond-cutter precision.
Consider the "invincible sandwich," enticing triangles with salmon, avocado, tomato and a colorful combo of roes. Looks terrific, tastes better. Maguro "invictus" has a traditional cylindrical shape, and delivers almost as much flavor from spicy tuna and a wasabi-daikon dressing. Arata Sushi defines itself, however, with omakase, or chef's choice, productions. These include up to 10 pieces of creative sushi and sashimi preparations. Crisp petals of Brussels sprout shower salmon; lush ginger-sesame sauce is drizzled on deep-red tuna sashimi; threads of phyllo and a streak of house-made ketchup announce toasty sea bass; salsa verde accents white tuna and Maui onion salsa, fluke; baked tomato alights on red tuna; and, in a familiar Nobuism, jalapeño ignites fluke. All very good. And the fish tacos also stand out, especially those filled with a refreshing seviche of finfish. Crunchy crabmeat-and-corn samosas are gilded with pineapple salsa. House-made shumai with chicken and shrimp awaken with aged ginger sauce. You'll find an inviting, subversive, full-bodied leek-and-potato soup; and a seafood soup fired up with lemongrass and peppers. Even the miso soup comes through. Dessert: banana caramelized with soy, finished with pecans and vanilla ice cream.
Satisfactory shrimp-and-vegetable tempura; very sweet miso black cod; the familiar sushi and sushi rolls. Dissenters can pick a strip steak with wasabi potatoes and ketchup sauce or orange-glazed salmon.
THE BOTTOM LINE