At the intersection of glittery and glitzy, Kashi Sushi Lounge shimmers like one of its grandiose chandeliers.
This is the third Kashi on Long Island. And it makes the branches in Huntington and Rockville Centre seem like vow-of-silence retreat houses. You come here for a show, and you get it, in the design and on the plate.
Whether you're in the main dining room or the adjoining lounge, the restaurant plays with your eyes and ears. Maybe it is those chandeliers, long crystal affairs that at certain angles look like musical notes. The prime-time noise level on the first floor seems only a few decibels short of shattering them. Kashi instantly could morph into a club.
More serene is the upstairs space. And against a wall textured to evoke waves and finished with a waterfall: a very busy sushi bar.
The uncooked fish is uncommonly good here, especially the pristine sashimi, which is lustrous, and the nigirizushi, on ovals of vinegared rice. They highlight dining out. Ask for a chef's sampler. Or pick hamachi and kampachi for silky yellowtail; maybe, fluke and Spanish mackerel; definitely fatty tuna or bigeye tuna.
They're preferable to the toro tasting, which, courtesy of condiments, sauces and a quail egg, almost masks the flavor. "Lobster noir," which suggests a fish house via Raymond Chandler, survives the name and delivers a tasty union of shellfish, avocado and mango on wasabi-spiked crisps.
Kashi's elaborate, overorchestrated sushi rolls look terrific. But be selective. Takayama stars spicy tuna and black-pepper tuna, and it works. The Kobe beef production, complete with fried Maui onion and wasabi aioli, doesn't. Have a yellowtail-jalapeño or tuna handroll instead.
Spicy tuna gyoza are pretty dry inside. You're better off with the tuna tartare. A salmon-mango wrap will upend purists, but it's fresh and refreshing. Rock shrimp tempura has the right crunch. The result, however, is more sweet than spicy. When in doubt, there's the dependable miso-marinated black cod.
Kashi sends out a fine lemongrass-scented hot-and-sour soup and miso soup with chives, seaweed and shiitake mushrooms. The cooked fare also includes an aromatic, excellent beef tenderloin stir-fry with Thai basil. For the truly resistant, Kashi makes outstanding mashed potatoes, which pair neatly with rack of lamb.
The chocolate "lava" cake materializes dormant; the tempura ice cream, almost crunch-free. Dessert isn't a priority.
But if you're ready to party, Kashi Sushi Lounge is, too.