There are two ways to enjoy Nodaz. And they're as different from one another as hardcore emo and chamber music.
Nodaz basically divides into a pair of restaurants. Turn left and you're headed to sound-and-fury, sizzle-and-snap hibachi grilling. Go right, and you're in a sleek, almost serene dining room for sushi, with Asian side trips.

Unless you're here with a group intent on revelling in the clang-bang, flip-slice, smoke-and-fire department, you'll find the rightward route smoother and more ambitious.

The dark, high-back banquettes are more comfortable than the chairs around the eight hibachi grills, too. From some seats, you'll see the sushi chefs in action, a modest show in itself.

You can start, of course, with miso soup. But Nodaz prepares a fine, earthy cream-of-mushroom soup that would be the envy of most continental eateries. And the house's tom yum koong, the spicy Thai soup of shrimp and lemongrass, can be absolutely incendiary. If you want it hot, you get it hot.

The papaya salad with soy vinaigrette provides an acceptable coolant, as do the seaweed salad with mango dressing and the avocado salad with beets.

But chicken satay is overcooked and the deep-fried tofu appetizer with bonito flakes turns papery and dull. "Tuna pizza" translates into a crisp tortilla topped with thinly sliced fish, guacamole, scallions, roe and a spicy sauce that nearly masks the rest. Instead: black-pepper tuna tataki, with wasabi-mayo sauce; or the respectable vegetable tempura.

Salmon teriyaki, tender and sweet, improves on countless versions. Likewise, red-curry duck, with just enough bite to cut the creamy sauce. Pad Thai, Thailand's best-known noodle dish, arrives as a tasty stir-fry, with chicken, beef or shrimp.

Veering raw, try the "X'mas roll," a harmonious combo of yellowtail, tuna, salmon, avocado and roe. The "fire house" number ignites as a salmon-capped spicy California roll. But "GCP roll" turns into a deep-fried traffic jam of three fish with spicy mayo. The tuna, yellowtail and eel-and-avocado rolls stand out.

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On the flaming hibachi side, filet mignon and swordfish prevail, followed at considerable distance by shrimp and vegetables. Surf-and-turfers can pick steak or chicken plus shrimp or lobster. The pyrotechnics, from a sliced onion "volcano" to the obligatory oil-fueled wall of fire, accompany all.

Unadorned ice cream leads the desserts, unless you have an attraction to the fried variety. Cheesecake has a mass-market blandness. And "cafe latte" tastes like a dull, frosty parody of tiramisu, underscoring that some borders shouldn't be crossed.

Besides, by now your passport has been stamped at least twice.

Reviewed by Peter M. Gianotti, 11/14/07