Naming a Chinese-Japanese restaurant "Wok and Roll" has become as commonplace as calling an Italian pizzeria "Mario's." This particular Wok and Roll isn't affiliated with any of several like-named food-court stands, or with the Montauk restaurant having the same moniker. It is, in fact, the sole Long Island offshoot of a Washington, D.C., establishment.
In addition to sushi, it offers some authentic Hong Kong-style items (including a tea menu) as well as a roster of suburban Hunan and Sichuan standards. In a day when traditional Chinese restaurants are going the way of the panda, that's a plus.
ON A ROLL
This time of year, you'll want to warm up with something steaming hot. Go for one of the big-bowl noodle soups, my favorite floating delicate shrimp wontons. Chicken-and-corn soup is rich and heady, hot and sour soup a true zinger.
I try two "special" maki rolls: the "Sakura" (tuna, salmon, yellowtail, kani wrapped in soybean paper) and "flying dragon" (eel, kani, avocado, cucumber and tobiko), both likable enough.
More compelling is an entree of expertly fried squid and scallops dusted with spiced salt. At lunch, an incendiary kung pao chicken and shrimp combo is deftly executed. Chinese broccoli in a fiery sauce works well, but would have been fine simply steamed, too. I can't stop eating the ultra-comforting beef lo mein.
Any of the cold fruit and milk teas (with or without tapioca balls) amounts to my idea of a perfect dessert. Two favorites: the mango and the honeydew.
I have high hopes for the "eight treasure clay pot," a mixed seafood, chicken, pork and vegetable casserole, but it's devoid of the "real" crabmeat promised in the menu description (surimi stands in) and the tofu tastes pre-fried. Cantonese roast duck is OK but unexciting.
DOLLAR STRETCHING TIPS
Lunch is hyper-cheap ($6 to $7.50, soup included). And, at dinner Monday to Friday, a Chinese menu includes entree plus soup or egg roll for $8.95. Is this 2009 or 1979?