Oriental Bakery & Sushi
600-08 Portion Rd. Ronkonkoma, NY 631-738-7887
If you're partial to original combinations of raw fish, this offbeat spot in Ronkonkoma is worth seeking out. "Oriental Bakery & Sushi" is a partial misnomer, since no baking occurs on premises and only a few pastries are for sale from a rear display case. You'll also find shelves of Asian groceries, refrigerator cases stocked with beverages and, in the center of the room, a coffee station.
Sit at the sushi bar or at one of the few widely spaced tables, where the sushi-focused menu, complete with photographs, also is your plastic placemat.
First to arrive is a gratis, and very good, spicy kana salad of shredded surimi and cucumbers in a subtly fiery mayonnaise dressing. An appetizer called tuna tata (not tartare) features slices of deep red, perfectly fresh raw fish lightly charred on the outside, served with a piquant sauce. Tuna and avocado features the same fish decoratively arranged on sliced avocado, a spicy mayonnaise drizzled over all.
But it's the sushi rolls that are showstoppers. A must-order is the jade roll, spicy tuna and tempura flakes crowned with avocado slices and beautifully decorated with flowers of scallions and black tobiko. The red dragon roll -- spicy tuna mixed with those same flakes and topped with tuna slices -- is another winner. So is the Xanadu roll, which contains tuna, tempura flakes, spicy sauce, radish sprouts, salmon, yellowtail and avocado. One warm, humid day, we found that the tempura bits in the tiger roll (which also included salmon, seaweed and spicy shrimp) had gone soggy. On a less sultry night, however, they added crackle to the Fire Island roll, made of crab, avocado, spicy tuna and scallions. A truly unusual-looking treat was the deep-sea roll, eel and avocado wrapped in a terrific emerald green seaweed salad.
I enjoyed the queen roll, spicy tuna, avocado and tempura topped with more avocado, tuna and striped bass. Another time, though, the striped bass on the otherwise fine sushi and sashimi combination plate was off-tasting.
Chef-owner Jimmy Yeh uses fruit in creative ways. Try the kiwi vegetable roll, a refreshing combination of avocado, kampyo (a gourd), carrot and cucumber wrapped with kiwi. The golden shrimp tempura roll features mango atop fried shrimp, a fine contrast of temperatures, textures and flavors.
You can get a few cooked dishes. Broiled scallops proved a bit rubbery, but salmon don buri -- grilled fish over rice topped with spicy mayonnaise -- was moist and flavorsome.
Skip the unremarkable pastries and, unless you crave fried ice cream, plan on dessert elsewhere.
Given the lack of ambience, you might want to consider takeout. The menu depicts some artfully arranged (and moderately priced) party platters. With candlelight and a well-set table, this festive fare could get the setting it deserves.
Reviewed by Joan Reminick, 9/19/03.Hours: Same menu all day, Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.