540 Westbury Ave. Carle Place, NY 516-333-3434
Authentic Japanese cuisine (especially fine sushi) are served by a hospitable crew.
At midday, you'll find Koiso filled with folks huddled at the sushi bar and at tables.
Many, no doubt, are repeat customers who appreciate both the fine fare and the graciousness of owner Kyoko Mitsumori, who greets both newcomers and regulars with enthusiasm. The entire staff makes an extra effort to accomodate individual preferences.
You'll do well with both the spicy tuna and spicy yellowtail rolls. If it's in season, try the exemplary negi toro roll, made with blue fin (fatty) tuna.
Those who prefer to start with cooked food will like the gyoza, pork and vegetable dumplings, which are light and savory. Even the miso soup is exceptional, richer and more full-bodied than most. Clam soup is soothing and gingery, the clams briny-fresh.
At dinner, a bowl of tempura soba-a deeply flavored broth floating shrimp tempura and thin soba (buckwheat) noodles-is a hearty and soulful choice. An entree of chirashi, sashimi-style raw fish arranged artfully over a bowl of vinegared rice, sparkles. Kushi katsu, deep-fried pork and onion kebabs, are golden and greaseless.
Accompanying them, as well as some of the other entrees, is something most of us usually don't expect to find at a Japanese restaurant: potato salad. It's immensely popular in Japan, said Mitsumori, whose recipe includes mustard, celery and apples.
Chicken teriyaki, served with that potato salad, is moist and juicy. Salmon teriyaki is fresh and generously portioned. Try the katsu curry, which features crisp breaded pork in a robust curry sauce served, don buri-style, over rice.
Dessert, unless you crave green tea or red bean ice cream, is skippable. Lingering over a cup of tea and some good conversation is all one needs before leaving the serenity of Koiso and heading out into an all-too-frantic world.
-- Joan Reminick
March 23, 2001