Kotobuki is a well-known secret in Hauppauge. Its understated red sign reading "Sushi" in the Shoprite shopping center marks a hotspot for sushi and Japanese cuisine lovers.
The thought of fresh fish and vegetables was a refreshing choice in the winter, a season predominated by hearty home-cooked meals. Sushi's main ingredients of raw fish and vegetables can be a step towards healthier eating in 2011.
The Dish: Rich and Famous Roll ($6.50)
What's Inside: A mixture of spicy yellow tail and crab that is lightly deep-fried, wrapped in seaweed and sushi rice sprinkled with sesame seeds.
How's It Taste: The first bite might take traditionalists by surprise as the deep-fried yellowtail and crab center brings a crunchy texture into the sushi roll. The brief cooking is a new twist, a step away from traditional raw fare, but the oil is hardly notable and the fish stays light and fresh. The seaweed wrap and sushi rice provide a nice, soft contrast to the fish, giving substantial but not overpowering volume to the roll.
It's topped off with a sweet sauce that comes drizzled over sushi. This paired with the spicy yellow tail, that provides a tangy bite that lingers with you. No need to add wasabi for extra heat.
Eat This Because: The new twist on the Rich and Famous roll offers something different on a sushi menu full of raw fish. It's satisfies the need for something sweet, spicy, crunchy yet soft in a mouthful. Also, it might be easier to convince a skeptic of raw fish to try this roll because its been heated.
Sides: A plain "amateur" yellow tail roll ($6) provided a fresh, stark contrast to the roll allowing a comparison to the deep-fried fish in the Rich and Famous. Eaten along with a seaweed salad ($6) it provided a fulfilling lunch.