Hung Nguyn, of Shiro of Japan in Carle Place, cooks...

Hung Nguyn, of Shiro of Japan in Carle Place, cooks a hibachi meal for dinner patrons. Credit: Chris Ware

Long Island’s oldest Japanese restaurant, Shiro of Japan in Carle Place, will close its doors on Feb. 4. Managing partner Peter Faccibene said that the owners of the building at 401 Old Country Rd. chose not to renew the restaurant’s lease and that “moving to a new location would not be economically viable.”

When Shiro opened in 1973, the term “hibachi” was not yet in common use: Newsday’s first mention of the restaurant described the scene: “the huge knife went clip-clop, the shrimp sizzled, the steak bits browned … and the chef flipped them onto dishes.” This was six years before Benihana of Tokyo opened in Manhasset.

Originally, the restaurant adjoined a branch of the Japanese department store Takashimaya, and it was only in 1980 that it began serving sushi. Faccibene’s partner, Hiro Ishikawa, had opened Long Island’s first sushi bar, Taiko of Rockville Centre, the year before. The two men purchased Shiro in 2004 from Takashimaya.

Over the years, Shiro expanded into catering and food service, supplying sushi to cafeterias all over the metropolitan area. The restaurant also brought hibachi dining to customers’ backyards. (After the restaurant closes, Ishikawa will continue to operate Shiro's off-premise and corporate catering.)

Thanks to innovators like Shiro of Japan, Long Island has no shortage of hibachi and sushi restaurants, but many of the original pioneers are dwindling: KuraBarn in Huntington shuttered in 2021; Nagashima in Jericho and Taiko in Rockville Centre closed, respectively, in 2019 and 2018.

Faccibene said that he hopes the restaurant’s final weeks will be “a time to celebrate the success we have enjoyed and thank our customers.”

Shiro of Japan is at 401 Old Country Rd., Carle Place, 516-997-4770.

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