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Mango Tango Asian Fusion review: Islip restaurant rejuvenates Asian-fusion cuisine

Mango Tango on Main Street in Islip offers

Mango Tango on Main Street in Islip offers a variety of Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese food. Chef Alan Zheng shows us how he prepares his General Tso's chicken. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Mango Tango Asian Fusion

496 Main St., Islip


COST: $$-$$$

SERVICE: Attentive, accommodating

AMBIENCE: Modern, sleek

ESSENTIALS: Open Monday to Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 12:30 to 11 p.m., Sunday 1 to 10 p.m.; weekend reservations suggested; major credit cards accepted; wheelchair accessible from parking lot.

Just when you thought that Asian-fusion cuisine was on its last dose of sweet-sour wasabi-Sriracha soy sauce, here comes Mango Tango.

Bright, dependable and gracious, it rejuvenates a tiring trend. Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian and a little New American harmonize with enough taste to make the UN jealous.

The corner eatery, with half-moon banquettes and comfortable tables, TVs tuned to sports and a soundtrack of millennial sounds, does have a hybrid style. But, so far, it’s attracting a diverse audience which, after a bite or two, is less interested in smartphones than the vibrant fare.

Mango Tango doesn’t blend the different dishes. It succeeds as primarily a fine Chinese and Japanese restaurant with some pleasing side trips, as reliable with the raw as it is with the cooked.

Sushi and sashimi appetizers glisten, with very fresh fish expertly sliced and handsomely presented. But pick yours a la carte. Fatty tuna, yellowtail, fluke, sweet shrimp, mackerel, sea urchin and red clam are among the very satisfying choices.

Then, you can move on to the house’s colorful, kaleidoscopic sushi rolls. Instead of the overorchestrated catastrophes that mark so many of the Instagram-oriented dining rooms, you’ll find balance among the flavors. That takes in the chef’s “special creations.”

These include the Islip roll, which translates into yellowtail, avocado and lime complementing spicy salmon, eel sauce and tobiko, sharing a green soy paper wrap; and the Mansfield roll, which brings together spicy white tuna, a trace of tempura, maguro tuna and rounds of jalapeño, with a mercifully restrained chili sauce.

You can enjoy a straightforward miso soup here. But veer Thai with a spirited tom yum gung, with an undercurrent of spiciness, shrimp, shiitake mushrooms and pineapple. Or take a Chinese side trip with lobster-and-asparagus soup finished with egg whites.

Refreshing openers are led by the Vietnamese salad, a combination of jicama, cabbage, cilantro, crisp vermicelli and crushed peanuts; and the traditional Japanese seaweed salad.

At this point, you can cross borders at random. Try the crunchy Thai spring rolls, and the Vietnamese summer rolls, with avocado, shrimp and mango. In a rare disappointment, Mango Tango does use crab stick, which you can excise.

Nibble on Sichuan dumplings with spicy sesame-peanut sauce or the milder steamed vegetable dumplings. They’re better than the workmanlike fried pork dumplings. Consider the meaty chicken satay, with rich peanut sauce. Twirl the tasty cold sesame noodles. Savor the Indonesian samba delight, with shrimp, scallops and chicken.

The crisp red snapper, lacquered with caramelized soy syrup, cut with red wine vinaigrette and juiced up with Penang curry, succeeds three ways. Order the pad thai with shrimp, to be shared on the side.

Mango Tango prepares General Tso’s chicken worthy of the rank, and sesame chicken that’s tender and flavorful.

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