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Asia Taste review: Hidden Hauppauge spot offers Thai, Japanese cuisine

At Asia Taste, a Thai-Japanese restaurant in Hauppauge,

At Asia Taste, a Thai-Japanese restaurant in Hauppauge, gang goong supparod, pineapple curry shrimp, is a forte. Credit: Bruce Gilbert

To see how spacious and comfortable this Thai-Japanese newcomer is, you must first find it. Tucked into a corner of the Giunta's Meat Farm strip mall, Asia Taste easily escapes notice. Once inside, you'll get none of the blaring techno music and neon lighting common to so many Long Island Asian fusion restaurants. The place is nothing more -- or less -- than a quiet oasis with a repertoire of two (rather than six) cuisines.

From the Thai side of the menu comes chef Peter Wong's rousing tom kha gai, chicken coconut soup sparked with chili and lime, loaded with tender pieces of chicken, galangal, lemongrass and mushrooms. Tom yam goong, or shrimp hot and sour soup, is its near equal. Both steamed shrimp dumplings and vegetable dumplings come out light and savory. And som tum esan, a spicy-sweet salad of shredded green papaya, is a real eye-opener.

But beef pad ki mao, otherwise known as drunken noodles, lacks the requisite chili-fired kick. Chili is also notably absent from mint fried rice with chicken. On the other hand, the place serves an exemplary pad Thai with shrimp.

Curries rule here. Whether it's the eggplant-laced green curry with shrimp, a not-too-sweet pineapple shrimp curry or a basil-and-coriander-infused Penang curry with chicken, flavors are nuanced, unfolding gradually on the palate. Vegetarian tao hoo haw features overly chewy stuffed bean curd sheet, along with shiitake mushroom, tofu and vegetables. But the hearty, herbal basil duck succeeds.

Sushi chef Andy Lin's salmon-avocado roll features both rice and fish at ideal room temperature. The more ornate "crazy eel" roll -- with shrimp tempura, cucumber, avocado and grilled eel -- comes together well. Chirashi -- a generous array of finfish plus the requisite cooked shrimp and surimi -- is beautifully plated, flawless.

You'll want to pass on the peanut-and-honey-stuffed Thai golden bread, a starchy finale. A better way to go is with the mango and sticky rice. Simple and classic. Like Asia Taste, it's satisfying and not the least bit flashy.

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