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Haiku

40 E Main St Riverhead, NY 631-727-7778

Haiku serves Japenese cuisine in downtown Riverhead. It

(Credit: Doug Young)

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Critic rating: 1.5

User rating:
3
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Type: Sushi, Japanese Price range: $$ (Moderate) Description:

A restaurant serving sushi, tempura, teriyaki and other Japanese food. Dress is casual.

Hours: Mon-Thurs: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri: 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Sat: 12:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m.; Sun: 12:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Ambience: Very Good Service: Fair Credit cards: Accepted Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible
Sushi and sashimi combos are artistically plated at

Sushi and sashimi combos are artistically plated at Haiku, a Japenese restaurant in downtown Riverhead. (August 17, 2010) (Credit: Photo by Doug Young)

1.5

Haiku brings to Riverhead a long-needed haven for Japanese food and sushi. The restaurant has lots going for it: good looks (raftered ceilings and handsome furnishings) and skilled chefs behind the sushi bar. Too bad the experience is diminished by a cadre of preoccupied waiters whose focus I have yet to figure out.

POETIC

At lunch, my sushi-sashimi plate featured impeccable fish beautifully plated. My mate got a trio of spicy rolls, salmon, tuna and yellowtail - spunky, each and all. One evening, the meal began with shared maki rolls. Best was the angel roll (seared tuna, avocado, salmon and eel with spicy mayo and a special sauce). A Christmas roll (spicy crunchy tuna topped with salmon and yellowtail) finished a close second. While I liked the rice-free Sakura roll (a variety of fish plus asparagus wrapped in soy paper), I missed the rice. Good thing my main course was unagi don, a pillow of rice artfully topped with pieces of eel drizzled with barbecue sauce. While the chicken teriyaki in bento box B was a trifle overcooked, it was imbued with lovely smokiness, accompanied by a California roll, shumai (shrimp dumplings) and greaseless batter-fried shrimp tempura that crackled beneath the tooth.

NO RHYME

Salmon teriyaki? Woefully overcooked. Nabeyaki udon (soup as a meal, made with chicken, an egg, vegetables and fat noodles, shrimp tempura on the side): flavor deficient. A request for the traditional togarashi (7-spice powder) elcited, instead, a saucer of black pepper. For dessert, there was only fried ice cream and fried banana. We ordered the former and excavated green tea ice cream from its leaden batter crust.

BOTTOM LINE

Allow time for service lapses and fixate on the fine sushi.