Chutoro with caviar at Kissaki in Watermill.

Chutoro with caviar at Kissaki in Watermill. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Neighborhood sushi spots abound on Long Island, offering reliable, close-to-home rolls and bento boxes as often as the mood strikes. Venture farther afield and you'll get a fuller omakase experience, with rarer-to-be-found imported fish and perhaps, small plates of izakaya Japanese bar food.

Here are Newsday food critics' top recommendations for sushi:

Ginza

170A Gardiners Ave., Levittown

For ambitious sushi bars today, it’s common to fly in seafood directly from Tokyo’s storied Tsukiji fish market, but when Ginza opened in Massapequa in 2012, it was the only place on Long Island to do so. The original restaurant closed in 2020 but it has been reborn in a side-street strip mall and with bleached wood, recessed lighting and neutral upholstery, it is no less lovely. The focal point remains the sushi bar, where chef-owner Patrick Yam and his team strut their stuff. Yam still gets some fish flown in from Tokyo, and you might encounter madai (sea bream), baby yellowtail, fatty tuna, real king crab (not kani) and sea urchin from California or Japan (or both). The ultimate Ginza experience is Yam’s omakase (literally, “trust the chef”): Sit at the sushi bar while he prepares, explains and serves the day’s most exciting offerings. But Ginza is also a great spot for a workaday dinner of sushi, udon or soba noodles, teriyaki or tempura. A lunch menu features more than a dozen dishes under $15. More info: 516-882-9688, ginzany.com

Chirashi made with the day's special fish at Ginza in...

Chirashi made with the day's special fish at Ginza in Levittown. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

Honami Sushi Hibachi & Lounge

179 Walt Whitman Rd., Huntington Station

There’s fish of both flash and substance at this relatively new Huntington Station spot — buttery salmon, opalescent raw scallops, fanned out planks of color-colored chutoro and shima-aji and sea bream — all freshly flown in from Japan. (Anyone doubting this is welcome to take it up with Simon Chen, who mans the sushi bar and is only too happy to provide receipts.) The cavernous restaurant seats up to 350, including 10 at its sushi bar, several on the patio (weather-permitting) and a dozen more in an attractive private room with tatami mat-style seating. More info: 631-673-5888, honaminy.com

Itsuki Sushi

2485 Jerusalem Rd., East Meadow

Very-good-for-the-price offerings at this newish East Meadow spot run by Anya Chen and her brother — who just goes by Chen — include plates of nigiri with salmon, tuna and yellowtail, while other solid roll choices include a rainbow (salmon, tuna, yellowtail, crab stick and avocado) and a volcano (spicy tuna and flying fish roe. But don’t overlook the signature Itsuki roll, A.K.A. eight bright yellow pieces of sushi heaven, each with brownish drizzles of mango and eel sauce, and composed of fried banana bits interspersed with bits of shrimp tempura and a few specks of spicy lobster. More info: 516-208-8000, itsukisushi.com

An assortment of sushi rolls and nigiri at Itsuki Sushi...

An assortment of sushi rolls and nigiri at Itsuki Sushi in East Meadow. Credit: Newsday/Spencer Vogel

Kissaki  

670 Montauk Hwy., Suite E, Water Mill and 407 Plandome Rd., Manhasset 

Nothing is typical at this sushi spot, from the chirashi-don bowl topped with mounds of sea urchin, to miso butter on roasted figs, to a robot that shapes nutty koshihikari rice for nigiri sushi and maki rolls. Chef Mark Garcia trained with one of America’s sushi masters, Kaze Chan, and he is ultra-deft at combining fish from Japan with blistering knife skills for the signature omakase, wherein evocative toppings such as toasted almonds or frizzled shiitake mushrooms set the sushi apart. In 2023, Kissaki opened a second location in Manhasset that is less focused on omakase, offering a bigger selection of a la carte selections in beautifully designed digs. More info: 631-709-8855, explorekissaki.com

Chutoro with caviar at Kissaki in Watermill.

Chutoro with caviar at Kissaki in Watermill. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Stirling Sake

477 Main St., Greenport

Yuki Mori, formerly the manager of the East Village sake bar Decibel, took his act east in 2015, opening Stirling Sake a few blocks from the main action in Greenport. No surprise that the sake menu runs deep at this serene spot, and expert advice is available from the servers. Mori also oversees a kitchen that puts out an eclectic lineup of Japanese small plates — perfect to accompany sake — and as well as some of Long Island’s most savory noodle bowls. Soba come in an almost lavish broth with a chili smolder; for tonkotsu ramen, Mori braises pork collar from Cutchogue’s 8 Hands Farm and arranges it in a milky, opaque, kotteri-style broth. A lighter brew is built with yuzu broth and smoked local duck breast. As befits a sushi place in a harbor town, Stirling’s fish lineup can be ridiculously fresh — sushi master Akio Kon moonlights as a fisherman and, in season, catches much of what he serves. More info: 631-477-6782, stirlingsake.com

Sushi by Kuryu at Roslyn Gourmet Seafood

444 Willis Avenue, Roslyn Heights

Born and raised in Nagoya, Japan, chef Teruo Yoshioka is the real deal, having worked for Nobu in downtown Manhattan for 16 years. He left in 2020 to launch Kuryu New York Kitchen Lab in Park Slope, Brooklyn, billing itself as a “take-away delicatessen” for diners craving luxe Japanese food at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, he opened a satellite in Roslyn Heights, inside Roslyn Gourmet Seafood, that offers seated dining, a menu of about 20 rolls that include spicy tuna, yellowtail scallion, and California rolls with real crab. Combinations like spicy roll combos and salmon and tuna, as well as sushi, sashimi and omakase tastings complement a well-researched sake menu. Although the space itself, a fluorescent-lit retail fish shop, doesn’t exactly scream ambience, stay and you'll get to watch Yoshioka do his masterful thing. More info: 646-283-9611; kuryunyc.com

SUSHI 1 

210 Mill Rd., Westhampton Beach

The very antithesis of a flashy East End eatery, this under-the-radar Japanese restaurant has been quietly serving classic Japanese cuisine of the highest quality for more than two decades. The menu features many traditional rarities such as gomaae (steamed spinach with sesame sauce), hijiki (black seaweed) and kimpira (sauteed burdock root and carrots) along with excellent teriyaki, tempura. The sushi selections are focused more on a variety of fish than elaborate rolls and the regular list of almost 20 species is supplemented by daily specials. The attention to detail here extends to the rice: Sushi 1 serves not white, not brown but Haiga rice, more nutritious than the former, better tasting than the latter. More info: 631-288-5096, sushi1.com

Chirashi made with the day's special fish at Sushi 1...

Chirashi made with the day's special fish at Sushi 1 in Westhampton Beach. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

Sushivogue

8063 Jericho Tpke., Woodbury

Exhaustive is too weak a word to describe Valley Stream native Tommy Yeh’s dependably delicious menu, which lists dozens of rolls featuring more than 100 ingredients combined in what feels like thousands of ways. There are rolls with localized names like Jericho (spicy yellowtail, white tuna and jalapeño), cute names Charlie Brown (coconut shrimp, cucumber wrapped with purple rice, mango, seared scallops, peanuts) and Aquaman (spicy tuna, guacamole, jalapeño, spicy salmon and Doritos crumbs). Don’t miss the Triple Crown (tuna, salmon, yellowtail with bluefin toro and wasabi salsa) or the Woodbury (king crab, cucumber, seaweed salad, lobster salad and more). Note to adventurous types: try the sushi burrito stuffed with spicy crab and salmon. More info: 516-588-9900, sushivogue.com

A Pearl Harbor roll at Sushivogue in Woodbury.

A Pearl Harbor roll at Sushivogue in Woodbury. Credit: Spencer Vogel

Taka Sushi

821 Carman Ave., Westbury

Located in a nondescript strip mall in Westbury, Taka swims far below the radar, though it is well known among Long Island’s sushi cognoscenti. Chef-owner Taka Yamaguchi presides over the restaurant from behind the sushi bar. He’s the strong, silent type, not given to friendly banter. He concentrates on his work and the best way to appreciate it is to settle in at the counter and ask for the omakase, chef's choice. Depending on season (and whim), you might be served marinated mackerel, Arctic char, Spanish mackerel cross-hatched through its shimmery skin and topped with ginger and scallion, yellowtail sushi with its own little belt of shiso leaf, fluke, toro (belly tuna) or sweet shrimp, the tail served raw, then whisked away to the kitchen to be deep-fried. No slouch, that kitchen: It’s one of the few places on Long Island that makes oyakodon (chicken and egg over rice) with leg meat. Taka also has an extensive list of Japanese beers and sake. More info: 516-876-0033

Takumi

14903 Veterans Memorial Hwy., Commack

Husband-and-wife team Yukio and Kiyomi Okamura run one of a handful of Japanese-owned sushi restaurants on Long Island with warmth and passion. (“Takumi” is Japanese for “craftsman.”) Yukio began work as a chef at age 15 in Japan, and his experience shows: His menu is full of little-seen Japanese dishes such as unagi kogushi yaki (skewered barbecued eel), kinpira gobo (stir-fried slivered burdock root and carrots sprinkled with sesame seeds) and satsumaimo (Japanese sweet potato). When seasonal fish show up, Kiyomi calls regular customers to spread the word. Slices of kamburi — large amberjack caught at their fattest and most succulent in winter — might be topped with a pinch of grated, pickled wasabi stem; warmer months might bring a whole aji (horse mackerel). After Yukio makes sashimi out of its flesh, the delicate frame is deep-fried into a crisp shard. (The bones are so soft you can eat them.) Kiyomi is also happy to guide you through the bar’s deep list of sakes. More info: 631-543-0101, takuminy.com

Kabocha (Japanese squash) at Takumi in Commack.

Kabocha (Japanese squash) at Takumi in Commack. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Tiga

43A Main St., Port Washington

As much as we love the simple pleasure that is sushi, would it kill some sushi chefs to have some fun with the fish? You won’t be asking yourself that question at this four-year-old spot, which puts chefs Roy Kurniawan and Dhani Diastika center stage — or center sushi bar — for nightly performances they accomplish with skill, humor and frequently propane torches. It’s all in the service of such fanciful rolls as the Sweet Jane (seared salmon, kani salad with a spicy barbecue sauce), Grandwazoo (torched squid, scallops) or the Big Mac — a zillion-layered construction cut into squares (think mini-lasagnas with spicy tuna and crab salad). The dining room is still as crowded as ever, the apps and hot dishes tending toward the ho-hum, but not so the specials. More info: 516-918-9993, tigany.com

Torigo

196 Jericho Tpke., Floral Park

There are people who swear that Torigo’s sushi is the equal of anything they’ve had in Manhattan, Tokyo, anywhere. The overexcitement is understandable, what with the variety and quality of chef-owner Tony San’s fish, as demonstrated by his sashimi and nigiri, maki and ura-maki rolls. The menu features all your sushi go-tos and then some, each of them well-sourced, from baby yellowtail to king salmon, but you overlook the list of daily specials (posted above the bar) at your peril. These tend to be fanciful and fantastic at once, as witness the recent Crazy Rich Asian roll loaded with uni (sea urchin) and salmon roe. Salmon, yellowtail, mango and at least 7 other ingredients made for an aptly named Tropical Frenzy roll, while a Toro Lovers Dream roll was just that, eight pieces of fatty bluefin tuna both buttery and divine. More info: 516-352-1116, torigorestaurant.com

A sashimi platter at Torigo in Floral Park.

A sashimi platter at Torigo in Floral Park. Credit: An Rong Xu

Yamaguchi

63 Main St., Port Washington

When Akira and Yasuko Yamaguchi opened their restaurant in 1988, it was one of very few sushi bars on Long Island; now Yamaguchi is one of several within a three-block radius in downtown Port Washington. But not only does it stick to its traditional guns in the face of fusion and ever-more-elaborate maki rolls, it continues to excel. The emphasis is on the fish: hopping fresh and prepared to amplify, rather than distract from that freshness. Make sure you inquire what the chefs recommend on any given day; fluke usuzukuri, squid with cod roe, and salmon roe with grated yam are perpetual standouts. Yamaguchi’s kitchen specializes in homestyle dishes such as chawanmushi, a delicate savory custard steamed in a special porcelain cup, as well as starters drawn from the izakaya (bar snack) tradition, which include fried or chilled tofu, buckwheat soba with grated yam, ebi shinjo (fried shrimp patties) and nasu hasami age (fried eggplant stuffed here with crabmeat). More info: 516-883-3500, restaurantyamaguchi.com

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