The statue of a reclining Buddha rests on a long room divider at Fhoo Asian Bistro, evoking tranquillity and inducing calm.
Then, the birthday party music erupts.
It’s Saturday night, and the celebrations have started, every sound ricocheting from one hard surface to another. Suddenly, the restaurant could be a dance lounge, which part of it does become, complete with DJ, after 9 p.m. There’s Friday-night music and dancing, too.
But arrive on another evening and you’ll find a more serene, reflective mood in this big, sleek, angular, contemporary space, especially after a few sips of one of the many fine sakes or one of the house’s colorful cocktails.
Fhoo Asian Bistro appeals to a broad audience, so pick the mood you want and visit accordingly. Whenever you go, the food generally will be very good, mixing Chinese, Japanese and Thai with a lot more dexterity than many of its competitors across Long Island.
The Monday-Thursday crowd is, of course, smaller and skews a bit older; the weekenders include large groups, with enough rising voices to make you think a pro-fusion rally is coming next on the schedule.
But the chef at the sushi bar is never rattled, slicing and rolling along. And the kitchen keeps pace with the most demanding and hurried diners.
Immediately, you should order the special appetizer of Beijing duck, a bamboo steamer packed with a trio of pancakes that are filled with juicy duck, lacquered skin, hoisin sauce and more. It’s excellent. The duck spring roll with plum sauce crackles with fresh flavor. But Fhoo’s chicken lettuce wraps arrives very bland.
General Tso’s chicken, while not especially spicy, does deliver a crunchy coating and tender meat. But lobster-and-mango salad buries the taste of both ingredients in a too-sweet sauce, while the sashimi salad masks the fish with a sweet-tart dressing. The house’s refreshing seaweed salad is a better choice.
Seaweed-and-rice crisps create a sandwich for the respectable spicy tuna cracker. The lively yellowtail-jalapeño usuzukuri, sliced paper thin and accented with just enough heat, will open your appetite. Nigirizushi, with uncooked fish on vinegared rice, stands out with fatty tuna, maguro tuna, fluke, mackerel, yellowtail, and scallop.
The sushi rolls are many, colorful and kaleidoscopic. The “Louis” roll with eggplant tempura, spicy tuna, salmon and lobster turns surprisingly harmonious. Likewise, the Canada roll devoted to salmon; and the “Lover” roll shaped into a heart with maguro. Several sushi rolls include tempura, but enjoy the vegetable tempura the traditional way.
Crisp red snapper swims in carefully prepared, but pretty sweet with Thai chili sauce. Shellfish in a mild curry sauce has more spark. Pad Thai with vegetables or shrimp should be shared by the table. You’ll want to finish the whole dish of udon or soba noodles with vegetables.
No need to stick around for the banana tempura, the fried ice cream, or the ersatz chocolate “soufflé.”
Just have some tea — and relax.