The cooking of Korea and the cuisine of Japan have as much in common as barbecued beef ribs and raw tuna. But both stand out at Imperial Seoul.
This very bright restaurant is the right spot for Korean fare in either Nassau or Suffolk. There are plenty of places to sample sushi on Long Island, but few Korean competitors and currently none this good.
You enter and see the sushi chefs at work straight ahead. Turn left and you're in the realm of tabletop barbecue and even hotter casseroles. A stretch of bamboo and other plants divides this open area from more private, screened rooms.
Either way, go with a group. On some nights, it's as if you've walked into a party.
Pick your cut of beef, or lamb, pork, chicken, duck or large shrimp, and ask the waiter to ignite that V-shaped grill. The conscientious staff also will do the cooking for you. Top choices for beef eaters include well-marbled short ribs with ginseng, thinly sliced beef marinated in soy sauce, and brisket. Close: marinated duck. The fired-up casseroles are sure to clear any head cold. Sample the sliced pork with vegetables and rice cake in an incendiary, red-pepper-hued sauce. Also consider the pork-and-tofu stew and the codfish broth. Milder and very good: pan-fried white tuna with scallions. Stir-fried Korean noodles with seafood and short ribs with carrots, mushrooms and radishes are dependable a la carte dishes. The better sushi selections are nigirizushi, or uncooked fish on ovals of vinegared rice. Try yellowtail and tuna, fluke and mackerel. No official desserts, but you may get a glass of cool, refreshing pumpkin soup.
The colorful sushi rolls can be a bit overorchestrated. Routine vegetable dumplings. Standard "spicy tuna martini," served in the cocktail glass; and shrimp cocktail the same way, each with a little umbrella.
THE BOTTOM LINE
A happy alliance.