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Bonbori Japanese restaurant serves sushi and more Asian

Bonbori Japanese restaurant serves sushi and more Asian fusion food than anything else. Under new new ownership, the restaurant is located in a quant old house in downtown Huntington. (March 13, 2010) Photo Credit: Bruce Gilbert

With a Japanese name, a sushi chef from Indonesia and a kitchen chef from Thailand, you'd think Bonbori would be all over the map. Instead, the restaurant keeps its focus on quality sushi and Thai fare.

While summer is the time to enjoy Bonbori's leafy outdoor patio, there's reason enough to seek out this quirky, old two-story house in all weather.

ASIAN ARTISTRY 

One night, dinner begins with a knockout "Fifth Avenue" roll (spicy tuna and tempura flakes with salmon and avocado), both fish and rice at optimal temperature. Chirashi presents a colorful, generous assortment of finfish as well as uni (sea urchin), ikura (globes of red-orange salmon roe) and squid-wrapped asparagus.

I like the hearty "country" miso soup, but it's outclassed by a fiery bowl of Thai tom yum soup with shrimp. Jelly noodle soup with tofu and vegetables has its own mild appeal.

Som tum, a salad, contrasts cool shredded green papaya with the fiery wallop of a chili-lime dressing.

Thai kitchen chef Surapong Tankrongsil doesn't stint on the fire power when it's requested. In the "hurts so good" category are a nuanced mango curry made with chicken and a coconut-milk laced Penang curry done with tender beef. Chicken with cashews, ordered mild, reveals complex flavors but no sting. So, too, does a vegetarian dish - eggplant with vegetables stir-fried with garlic, onions, red peppers and basil. Love the "drunken" noodles, flat rice noodles sauteed in a spicy basil sauce mellowed with egg.

Three versions of crème brûlée (green tea, Thai tea and vanilla) are presented in small tea cups. All are lovely. There's also warm pumpkin custard, a comforting conclusion.

One night, a "Hanada" roll (tuna, yellowtail, salmon and roe) is made with too-cold rice. Steamed vegetable dumplings are pasty, ordinary.

Our waitress seems detached; it takes forever to catch her eye. Check please?

MONEY SAVING TIPS

You can't beat lunch, when soup is included in the $8 to $13 price.

 Bonbori is located at 14 Elm Street, Huntington, 631-673-0400

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