Here are Newsday’s choices for the 10 top sushi restaurants of 2018.
Note: Most dishes mentioned are samples of the restaurants’ menus and may not be available at all times. Seasonal changes and dish substitutions are common.
Arata Sushi (18 Cold Spring Rd., Syosset): Inside this cozy eatery, Jimmy Lian, a Nobu veteran, prepares colorful sushi with inventive garnishes as well as playful riffs of Asian-fusion dishes. Lian works like a diamond cutter for results that are pristine and precise. Don't miss the omakase -- or chef's choice of whatever's best from the market that day -- which may include sushi of distracting combinations such as white tuna with salsa verde or fluke with onion salsa. Also look for ceviche-packed fish tacos; nasu dengaku, or eggplant broiled with miso; and silky usuzukuri, thin-sliced white fish drizzled with ponzu sauce. More info: 516-921-8154
The Roasted Peanut Avocado roll, below, and Ume Shiso roll, above, are pictured at Arata Sushi in Syosset.
Ginza (45 Carmans Rd., Massapequa): Impeccable fish from the Tsukiji Market in Tokyo anchors the adventurous meals at Ginza, an opulent, imposing, ambitious spot where eye-catching presentation is the order of the day. The fatty and medium-fatty tuna are top notch, but don't overlook Japanese snapper, called madai; baby yellowtail; horse mackerel; live orange clam; or toro tuna tartare. Spirited sushi rolls that don't smother the stellar fish, but highlight it with just enough adornment. If you're feeling indulgent, the chef's selection from Tsukiji is not to be missed. More info: 516-882-9688; ginzali.com
The tuna tortilla is thinly sliced tuna laid out on a crispy tortilla with avocado, jalapeno and spicy mayo at Ginza in Massapequa.
Hana (14 Haven Ave., Port Washington): Sleek, handsome and behind a bamboo facade, Hana serves up splashily fresh seafood from the Tsukiji Market and the New Fulton Fish Market. The multicourse omakase is a show stopper, and chirashi, or scattered sushi on rice, is minimally adorned and gorgeously cut. The chefs source at least three kinds of mackerel: "Blue skin" horse mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and Japanese mackerel; they also slice amberjack, striped bass, and other raw fish to perfection. More warming plates include miso-braised black cod; pork buns; wagyu A5 rib-eye; and a succulent roasted lobster with garlic butter and risotto. More info: 516-883-4262, hanaportwashington.com
Yellowtail topped with jalapeno is served at Hana in Port Washington.
Koiso (540 Westbury Ave., Carle Place): Kyoko and Kikumatsu Mitsumori are the mom and pop who own this old-school Japanese restaurant, one that feels slightly caught in time. Kikumatsu buys much of his own hopping-fresh local fish in Freeport, then expertly slices it with knife skills honed over 40 years. He's not interested in creating complicated rolls, so your best bets here are the simplest: nigirizushi, sashimi, chirashi. Kyoko is responsible for the cooked menu, including huge homemade gyoza (folded in house, and fried on one side), ramen and donburi, or rice bowls. More info: 516-333-3434
Fresh sushi platter is served at Koiso in Carle Place.
Nagashima Japanese Restaurant
Nagashima Japanese Restaurant (12A-1 Jericho Tpke., Jericho): Of the hundreds of sushi outlets on Long Island, there probably are fewer than a dozen that are owned by Japanese people and stick to Japanese cooking. Nagashima owner and sushi chef Makoto Kobayashi emigrated from Japan more than 30 years ago to work as a tempura chef at a New York City Japanese restaurant, and opened Nagashima in 1990. Sit at his sushi bar to learn about the provenance of the fish here, or such things as the difference in taste between summer fluke and winter fluke. There are no bells and whistles (or orchids, or banana leaves) for either sushi or chirashi -- just impeccably fresh, immaculately sliced fish on properly seasoned rice. Kobayashi grates fresh wasabi, expounds on the finer points of sake, and tries to convey to customers the great culinary tradition that he was trained in. More info: 516-338-0022, nagashimali.com
Chef Makoto Kobayashi's sashimi moriawase includes lobster, sweet shrimp, Argentine tuna, Norwegian salmon, yellow tail, Spanish mackerel, squid and snapper at Nagashima Japanese Restaurant in Jericho.
Nikkei of Peru
Nikkei of Peru (Multiple locations): Hermanto and Lina Jong's rousing fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine pack Nikkei of Peru in both Port Washington (55 Shore Rd.) and Oyster Bay (94 South St.), almost every night. The Jongs both once worked in the Nobu empire, and some of Nikkei's 42 seats are at the sushi bar; wait for one for the full experience. Starters such as ceviche and flash-fried kale with Asian pear salsa pave the way to inventive raw fish. The "inspiration" menu pairs silky fish with toppings such as chimichurri and threads of crisp onion, and sashimi tacos come with tomatillo salsa. On the hot side, try the steamed monkfish liver with sweet miso sauce and caviar or braised short ribs with jalapeno salsa. More info: nikkeiofperu.com
The Nikkei Inspiration roll offers eight pieces of assorted sushi, tuna, yellow tail, salmon, striped bass, red snapper, fluke, shrimp and squid along with tuna rolls at Nikkei of Peru in Oyster Bay.
Stirling Sake (477 Main St., Greenport): Befitting its name, Stirling Sake's list of rice wines is a centerpiece, hopscotching through multiple styles and dotted with unusual choices. Before you dive headlong into Stirling's sushi, though, don't overlook chef-owner Yuki Mori's unusual raw and hot snacks, such as kaburamaki, slivers of salmon, shiso and avocado wrapped in paper-thin turnip and dotted with a spicy miso sauce, or tiny, plump shumai stuffed with pork. If fortune is smiling, one of the night's specials might be featherlight tempura cod. Then, of course, there is the raw fish, some of it from the waters surrounding the North Fork, all of it cut like jewels and draped across perfectly seasoned rice. More info: 631-477-6782, stirlingsake.com
Tempura cod at Stirling Sake in Greenport.
Taka (821 Carman Ave., Westbury): Taka offers a lesson in sushi at the bar, where the coveted seats in his namesake restaurant are located. There's no fussiness, no over-orchestration, no out-of-sync flavors in this modest, strip-mall setting. You immediately know why you're here. The chef's choice of sushi is seasonal and whimsical, and his selections might include Spanish mackerel capped with scallion and ginger, marinated mackerel, yellowtail sushi with shiso leaf, fatty tuna, the sweet shrimp called ebi, or rich, pungent uni. More info: 516-876-0033
Sushi at Taka in Westbury.
Torigo Japanese Restaurant
Torigo Japanese Restaurant (196 Jericho Tpke., Floral Park): Torigo feels like a romantic Japanese bistro, and chef-owner Tony San is almost fanatical about sourcing uber-fresh fish for sushi, posting glamor shots of raw fish on his Facebook page. Four kinds of uni, multiple types of mackerel and all of the usual fish suspects - from salmon to sea bream - adorn the sushi menu, which is written on a chalkboard behind the sushi bar. Ease your way there with Torigo's excellent hot or barely seared snacks, such as isomaki fry -- fluke and slivered scallions rolled into seaweed, battered and then lightly fried. It's akin to a tempura sushi roll, but much more delicate. More info: 516-352-1116, torigorestaurant.com
Beef tataki and sake is served at Torigo Japanese Restaurant in Floral Park.
Yamaguchi (49 Main St., Port Washington): For more than 30 years, owners Akira and Yasuko Yamaguchi have been serving sushi that is focused and unadorned, and have attracted a devoted following accordingly. Their creations delight purists seeking simplicity and clarity, whether precisely cut fatty tuna, maguro tuna, yellowtail, mackerel and scallops, and just about any sushi or sashimi your host or hostess suggests. The fluke usuzukuri, squid with cod roe, and salmon roe with grated yam are also standouts, and if you've ever hankered for lobster katsu, then you've found your place. More info: 516-883-3500, restaurantyamaguchi.com
Dubin mushi soup with mushrooms is served in a teapot at Yamaguchi in Port Washington.