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Fusion 84 combines cuisines in Sayville

A plate of hoisin barbecued oysters is one

A plate of hoisin barbecued oysters is one of the dishes on the small plates menu at Fusion 84 restauarant in Sayville. (Feb 13, 2012) Credit: Doug Young

"Fusion cuisine," which probably started with Columbus, endures on Long Island in different styles. The dominant ones: everything on one menu, as in diners; and mix-and-match cooking, as in Fusion 84.

This new eatery, which succeeds Bullfish at the address, covers a lot of territory in its quest for fusion. Thai, Italian, French, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican -- they all make cameo appearances, sometimes together.

These unwieldy alliances take shape in a restaurant-and-bar union, where the weekend noise signals party time. The mostly modern dining room bounces voices like a racquetball court. That may contribute to the sometimes erratic service. Perhaps your waiter can't hear you.

Eventually, the details fall into place, especially if you're starting with the refreshing mini-tacos filled with crab, jicama slaw and zesty pico de gallo relish. The grilled sirloin sliders also are very good, finished with Cheddar, smoked bacon and chipotle pepper-spiked mayo.

Corn bisque and Manhattan clam chowder both are savory openers. The beet salad with herbed goat cheese gives the now-familiar combo respectable treatment.

Polenta fries are a fine choice, especially paired with those sliders. They materialize with a hint of white truffle oil, an ingredient that adds less the more it's used, and garlic-Parmesan dip. Have your fries unadorned.

The kitchen veers Asian with hoisin-sauced "bbq" oysters, a treatment that downplays the flavor of the bivalve, but tastes pretty good. The Thai chicken "lollipops," however, arrive overcooked. No dipping sauce can rescue them, even one with ginger, garlic and hot pepper.

Five-spice calamari delivers the crunch, avoids rubberiness, and is well seasoned, too. They go through a lot of squid here, with drinks or as an appetizer.

Seared diver scallops, offered as a small plate or a large one, spend enough time in the heat, however, to achieve a texture not that far from marshmallow. Miso-glazed salmon, while moist and matched with Asian slaw, is ordinary.

But your filet mignon, with garlicky mashed potatoes and applewood-smoked bacon and Brussels sprout hash, is velvety and recommended, along with the strip steak frites. So's the juicy, bone-in Berkshire pork chop with mashed sweet potatoes.

Desserts are few. The house's hefty bread pudding has a dry top and a pasty middle. And a wedge of the much-beloved Junior's cheesecake shows up drier than you'd expect. The surviving sweet is another Junior's import, the very welcome tall chocolate layer cake, in a portion that easily satisfies two.

No confusion about that.


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