When Tom Schaudel opened his sparkling Melville restaurant Jewel in December 2011, he designated one of the many dining areas a cigar-and-Cognac lounge. Turned out he overestimated his customers’ appetite for stogies and brandy because more often than not, he said, the room served as a way station “for chairs that the busboys didn’t want to carry downstairs.”
So he transformed it into Be-Ju Sashimi & Sake Bar, which opened on Friday night.
Decorated in tones of cream and earth, the room is dominated by a sushi bar behind which labor Shigeki Uchiyama, who worked for Schaudel at Thom Thom in Wantagh, and Hiroki Tanii. The two men are not slinging spicy tuna rolls. Be-Ju is dedicated to sushi practiced at a very high level. The first item on the menu is the 10-course omakase (“chef’s choice”) menu, which allows customers to “experience the chef’s inspiration.” It is “seasonal and reflects the best of what the market has to offer and each course is designed to harmonize with the next.” Cost: $110.
A la carte items include Maine shrimp with yuzu aioli, tuna with roasted-garlic mayo, tangerine ponzu and chervil (both $14 for two pieces); lapsang suchong tea-smoked salmon with green onion shoyu ($14); uni (sea urchin) custard with blue-claw crab, lime and caviar ($16) and bluefin toro with green-olive tapenade and first-press olive oil (market price). More than 20 varieties of fish are available as either sushi or sashimi for $5-12 and, as the market dictates, beyond.
There are 20 sakes (including two “second mortgage" selections, for $120 and $140) and two plum wines.
“What is if someone asks for a California roll?” I asked Uchiyama. “I handle that,” interjected Schaudel. “I beat them up.”
Be-Ju Sashimi & Sake is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday and is located inside Jewel Restaurant at 400 Broad Hollow Rd., Melville, 631-755-0555.