Sushi Republic is one restaurant that makes you glad it's not another of those chichi Asian-fusion spots with neon lights, throbbing techno music and raw fish plated with lights that change color.
Here, the look is serene, the background music spalike. Pretty wood dividers frame out the expansive space, giving the illusion of private dining nooks. Servers are friendly, obliging. And the food more than satisfies.
Start with a bowl of zesty hot and sour soup or Hong Kong-style wonton soup floating delicate dumplings. Better still, share the Thai curry seafood soup, nuanced and fiery, rife with shrimp and scallops. Curry-glazed rock shrimp have a light crunch and spicy kick, even if their creamy sauce has no discernible curry flavor.
Plain or fancy, maki rolls work well. The jalapeño yummy roll, with peppered tuna and yellowtail, has citrus-sparked electricity. Peppered tuna, as well as salmon, plays into the New Hyde Park roll, with its spicy-sweet juxtaposition of honey-wasabi and eel sauces. And the sushi chef gets the rice right, both in terms of texture and temperature. Ideal temperature also characterizes the fresh, well-cut finfish in the sashimi deluxe assortment.
A $9.95 lobster special, which runs until the end of the month, features a 11/4-pound crustacean sauteed with ginger and scallion. It's a real bargain, though it makes for messy eating. Salmon teriyaki grilled with its skin comes out flavorsome and moist. Another hit: red snapper with black bean sauce, strips of lightly sauce-coated fish encircled by baby bok choy. But shrimp with vegetable pepper sauce, requested extra spicy, has to be sent back to the kitchen for ignition. And while ramen soup with chicken is comforting, the broth lacks the expected depth intensity. Still, stir-fried yaki udon with chicken and vegetables comes off as a smoky treat -- addictively so.
For dessert, you'll find fried banana and ice cream. No surprises there.
And none, either, from the gently priced tab. Just the pleasant feeling of having both spent and eaten well.