THE SOUP: Clam
THE COST: $2.95
Forego the usual miso at this Northport Japanese restaurant; instead, seek out the quintessentially soothing clam soup. It's made with whole clams in an oceanic broth that floats shards of fresh ginger; each sliver of aromatic root bursts with flavor when crunched. -- Joan ReminickCredit: Newsday Photo/Rebecca Cooney
Some of the most colorful, imaginative and delicious sushi rolls on Long Island are found in a Northport Japanese restaurant with a Chinese name and a mostly Malaysian staff. Show Win, in the years since its opening, has blossomed into a destination dining spot with a multiple identity. While the focus of the menu remains the cuisine of Japan (sushi chefs are Japanese-trained), the "Chef's Specials" section showcases a range of Asian dishes, most of them Chinese and quite fine.
Still, I could dine on those rolls alone. Whimsically named, both for and by customers, they're elegantly tall and narrow, fashioned with a generous amount of fish and vegetables, a modicum of rice. Favorites include the "king" roll, a deft combination of spicy tuna and onion with sliced tuna and avocado on top, and the "redhead roll," its interior of avocado, cucumber and tempura flakes crowned with a topping of chopped spicy tuna. The color green predominates in the "St. Patrick" roll (spicy yellowtail, avocado and tempura flakes with a bright green topping of wasabi-marinated tobiko) as well as the "Samara slam" roll, which features spicy yellowtail, eel, asparagus and salmon. For those who shy away from raw fish, consider the "Aaron" roll, made of fried oysters and spicy sauce, and the "sister" roll, whose interior of spicy king crab and tempura flakes is topped with eel and avocado. There are close to 50 rolls in all.
In cold weather, try the sublimely soothing clam soup, made with whole clams, a fragrant oceanic broth with floating shards of fresh ginger. Miso soup, however, is as forgettable as most.
But you'll long remember the nasu, eggplant baked with a slightly sweet sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Baked rather than steamed, the savory Japanese pork-filled dumplings, called gyoza, are light and crunchy.
As an entrÃ©e, the yose nabe - think Japanese bouillabaisse - is a flavorsome broth brimming with seafood (slightly overcooked), chicken, bean curd, vegetables and cellophane noodles. Yaki udon, plump stir-fried Japanese noodles with sauteed shrimp and vegetables, is a thoroughgoing delight.
So is the "triple crown," a Chinese dish made of lightly battered shrimp, chicken and beef with sauteed spinach in a rich piquant sauce. General Tso's chicken, chunks of white meat deep-fried in a crunchy batter and topped with a fiery-sweet sauce is a classic done well. Far less impressive is the shrimp in a ketchup-like chili sauce, but the sprightly Thai style beef is a surprise hit.
You might conclude with fried bananas or ice cream, but the sliced oranges that came with the check are enough for me.
As you sip green tea, think of the sushi rolls you'd like to try on your next visit.