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Miraku in Great Neck: Seize the sushi chef

8. Miraku, Great Neck This is what happens

8. Miraku, Great Neck

This is what happens when owners also oversee a fish wholesaler -- a terrific selection for impeccably fresh sushi. A modern, lively, refined Japanese spot, with an understandably illuminated sushi bar, Miraku ups the ante in a very competitive neighborhood. Recommended: "fish and chips," here spiced crab, tuna, yellowtail and salmon on seaweed tempura; pearly fluke crudo; fried red snapper; sweet-soy braised tuna belly; nigirizushi, including sea bream, horse mackerel and amberjack; and, veering westward, grilled golden pompano, grilled rack of lamb.

Read our critic's review | Video: Go behind the scenes at Miraku Photo Credit: Yana Paskova, 2011

A few nights ago, I stopped by Miraku in Great Neck for dinner. After a couple of dates with the sushi chef there, I was ready to go all the way and order the omakase. Omakase (“trust me” in Japanese) is when the chef puts together a tasting menu. We’d been working up to this, he and I. In the past I’d ordered his peerless chirashi (raw fish atop a bowl of seasoned rice) but then would ask what else was special that night. That’s how I got to taste fresh sweet shrimp, baby snapper with a little smidgen of yuzu-pepper sauce, and the most amazing orange surf clam, which had been sliced artfully into many frills and placed back in its shell. Still, I’d never put myself entirely into his hands for my whole meal.

But my guy was gone. And I never even learned his name. A new fellow was working the bar and he did a fine job, starting me off with raw scallops and ending with a finale of a whole (though little) horse mackerel. In between was a pretty standard-issue assortment of salmon, yellowtail and fluke. Of course the new guy didn’t know me from Adam, nor was his English good enough for me to convey my likes and dislikes. I suppose I’ll have to start again at the beginning with this new relationship.

The moral of this story is: If you find a sushi chef you love, don’t wait too long before you go omakase.

Miraku is at 31 S. Middle Neck Rd., Great Neck, 516-466-6369.

I miss you, sushi chef whose name I never learned .?.?.



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