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Be-Ju in Melville: First bites

Steamed monkfish liver with sea urchin and ponzu

Steamed monkfish liver with sea urchin and ponzu sauce is served at Be-Ju in Melville. (Jan. 2014) Credit: Newsday Peter Gianotti

The gem in Jewel is Be-Ju.

It's a superior sushi-sashimi-sake bar and dining room, in a corner of Jewel in Melville that used to be devoted to cigars and Cognac. The new restaurant-within-a-restaurant is as subtle as Jewel is buoyant.

Jewel is chef-restaurateur Tom Schaudel's glittery showcase. The chefs at Be-Ju include Shigeki Uchiyama, formerly of Thom Thom when Schaudel operated the Wantagh spot; and Hirkoki Tanii.

They offer memorable wild bluefin toro, or fatty tuna, with green-olive tapenade; shrimp-and-sea urchin risotto; and a remarkable dish of steamed monkfish liver with sea urchin and ponzu sauce.

And the chefs prepare a spicy tuna roll that will allow you to forget all those versions that increase the heat to divert you from the flavor of dull fish. The traditional sushi and sashimi are excellent. So's the sake list.

For a whimsical dessert, try apple-filled potstickers with a spoon of soy-caramel dip; or a chocolate-and-wasabi bombe with ginger-chocolate sauce.

All this adds up. Dropping $75 to $100 per person is easy.. Entry-level samplers of sushi and sashimi are $45 and $55. A 10-course chef's choice meal, or omakase, is $110. But you can carefully navigate the menu for a more modest tab.

Kanpai!

Be-Ju. 400 Broadhollow Rd., Melville (Rubie Corporate Plaza, at corner of Route 110 and south service road of the Long Island Expressway). Reach Be-Ju with Jewel's phone number, 631-755-5777.

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