The once desolate industrial area just north of Tanger Outlets at the Arches in Deer Park is starting to blossom. But here's something novel: At a new strip mall just north of the LIRR tracks, I observed a Japanese restaurant, Mizuki, and a Chinese-Japanese restaurant, Bamboo, within steps of each another.
Too close for comfort?
The first I ventured into was the 3-month-old Mizuki, a tasteful minimalist space done in a dark smoky blue. Dinner started with a sake roll — spicy salmon, avocado and salmon with “crunch.” While the fish was fresh and well-cut, the tempura flakes were sticky rather than crunchy. Also, an otherwise fine sushi assortment was undermined by rice that was too cold.
At Bamboo, I arrived on a recent evening to find the place empty. I waited five minutes for someone to seat my companion and me but eventually gave up. When I returned after that, it was at midday. Then, I found every table occupied but was glad to wait my turn. Nice surprises ensued: tender savory-sweet barbecued short ribs, a fine salmon-avocado roll and exemplary hot-and-sour soup studded with bright green peas and pieces of pork.
Clearly, both places show promise, but each has its issues to work on.
Mizuki Japanese Cuisine is at 538 Commack Rd., Deer Park, 631-242-1633
Bamboo Chinese & Japanese Restaurant is at 534 Commack Rd., Deer Park, 631-586-6888