Here in America, “sushi” and “Japanese cuisine” are virtually interchangeable terms but consider this: In Japan, they don’t eat raw fish morning, noon and night. They eat cooked food, they eat meat, they eat vegetables, they even eat pasta. Yes, one of the glories of the Japanese table is noodles — soba (buckwheat noodles), udon (fat wheat noodles), ramen (thin wheat noodles) — which the Japanese serve in countless varieties of broth.
Tuesday night I dropped into Arata in Syosset, whose sushi and sashimi earned its place on Peter Gianotti’s 2011 top-eleven list. My first course, cubed raw tuna atop avocado chunks and a spicy edamame sauce, was indeed a winner. I'd intended to follow up the tuna with chirashi (raw fish piled on seasoned rice) my standard order on a first visit to a new sushi bar. Then I saw a woman at a neighboring table digging in to an enormous bowl of what the waiter told me was miso ramen, and I had to change course.
I'm very glad I did. The miso ramen, noodles in an almost too creamy miso-based broth, was terrific. The chef at Arata apparently like to slice things thick: the ramen was topped by three fat slabs of tender pork and thick slices of zucchini and pink-rimmed fish cake. Also floating around, a poached egg and some fried seaweed.
I’ve written before about my wish that someone would open a proper noodle house on Long Island — cloning Manhattan’s Ippudo would be a good start — but in the meantime I’m glad to know that ramen satisfaction can be had at Koiso in Carle Place and Arata in Syosset.
Arata is at 18 Cold Spring Rd., Syosset, 516-921-8154.
I did not have sushi at Arata.