Takumi brings to Commack what the area apparently can't get enough of: Japanese food. The serenely pretty place is owned by Yukio Okamura, who spent 17 years as a sushi chef in his native Japan before coming to this country 11 years ago. Since then, he's worked at another local Japanese restaurant, Kurofune, where he accumulated quite a following. At his own spot, Okamura is assisted by his wife, Kiyomi, a gracious hostess and waitress. Some nights, their daughter does homework at an empty table. The family is on a first-name basis with many customers.

ON A ROLL

Okamura's spicy crunchy tuna roll is fresh and vibrant, ideal for those who don't want a mouth-searing experience. Both the "Mets" roll (tuna, salmon, yellowtail and tempura flakes) and the "special rainbow" roll (multicolored fish layered over spicy tuna) have visual, textural and gustatory appeal. But it's Okamura's appetizer of pepper tuna that really sets my chopsticks flying. The barely seared pepper-rimmed sliced fish is raw within, smoky-fiery without. Chirashi (raw fish over seasoned rice) is pristinely fresh.

While an appetizer of grilled yellowtail jaw may look charred and crusty, it's actually a savory, creamy delicacy. I like the fragile pan-fried gyoza stuffed with a pork and vegetable forcemeat as well as the surprisingly juicy beef negimaki, beef rolled around asparagus and broiled in teriyaki sauce. And, for a sinus-clearing jolt, the wasabi shumai delivers. I, however, prefer the aptly named butter scallops, lightly browned, sweet and nutty. Oysters yaki are removed from their shells and sauteed in a garlic butter sauce before being put back for presentation's sake.

If you're one of those who find miso soup bland and boring, try ordering the spicy tofu soup, an incendiary crimson brew brimming with vegetables.

After that, yaki udon - a comforting stir fry of noodles, vegetables and chicken - may be just the thing. And Okamura's chicken and vegetable tempura is done to a greaseless crunch, giving fried food a good name.

SAYONARA

Clam soup is little more than miso soup with clams in it - overcooked clams, at that. The pieces of poultry in the chewy chicken teriyaki have been breaded and fried before being coated with a sweetish glaze.

BOTTOM LINE

There may be fried cheesecake for dessert and ice cream, too, but I'm content after all I've eaten. It's close to 9 p.m., and every seat at the sushi bar is taken. Unlike the succession of eateries that were in and out of this space before Takumi transformed it, this one looks like it may be here to stay.

Reviewed by Joan Reminick, 10/1/08.

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