The sign outside the Days Inn advertises low weekly rates and, a few lines down, "restaurant." Blue Fish makes you want to check in.
This sparkling Japanese eatery succeeds a series of dismal dining rooms that took up space adjoining the motel. The remade rooms keep little more than the footprint. Open 10-foot doors and enter a red-dominated lounge sporting an illuminated, onyx bar. Enter the sushi salon, glittery in a cool-blue hue. Along this stretch of South Oyster Bay Road, it's like Vegas. And the food has flair to spare.
Order spicy tuna dumplings, wrapped in wonton skin and deep-fried, capped with a round of jalapeño pepper. It's your wake-up call. The artfully arranged rectangles of flavor dubbed a "tuna pizza" also have a peppery kick, plus cilantro, avocado and a snappy citrus glaze - fine foils for the velvety fish.
The "5-flavor sashimi" delivers a skyline of tuna, white tuna, yellowtail, salmon and king crab, each with a tasty crown, from mango salsa to wasabi-yuzu sauce. Seared salmon finished with sea salt and plum sauce is topped with black olives. And the white tuna "sandwich" is a playful winner.
Competition comes from colorful sushi rolls. They're harmonious, tasty choices, especially compared with over-orchestrated productions elsewhere. The "volcano," complete with a flaming oyster shell accompaniment, includes shrimp tempura, avocado, roe and tuna, wrapped in a union of soybean, seaweed and apple salsa.
Highlighting the cooked: tender steak teriyaki with bok choy, pan-fried pork dumplings, miso-glazed black cod.
The familiar sushi and sashimi are fresh and good. Fried calamari goes international in a Thai-style sweet-hot sauce. Satisfactory shrimp-and-vegetable tempura, stir-fried udon noodles and miso soup; standard ice-cream desserts, better fried banana.
THE BOTTOM LINE