Last summer, we took a trip to Huntington village’s Samurai Japanese Steakhouse, where owner Michael Cheng presents Japanese cuisine interwoven with city cool and an eye for showmanship. As the summer of ’14 winds down, we decided to pay a visit to Samurai’s culinary sibling, Tomo Hibachi, which turns on the homey charm with a touch of urbane sophistication and a strong emphasis on sushi delights.
On what is hallowed Huntington ground – Tomo is situated at the former home of the vaunted Hamburger Choo Choo, which burned down in 1983 – Cheng offers a more intimate dining experience, calling in muted, warm earth tones, more traditional seating as opposed to emphasizing hibachi (there is a party room with several tables, you should know) and an all-around quieter dining experience.
Tomo first came about 10 years ago. Two years later, Samurai was an outgrowth of clientele at Tomo looking for a bigger bar, more hibachi and a larger space for catering and parties.
With the emphasis on sushi platters and inventive rolls, we decided to keep the focus there. Our sushi chef Kawa worked the bar and built an array of traditional favorites fresh to order. Traditional platters for one range from $18 and top out at $55 for shared platters. The rice is key on any sushi roll, explains Cheng, who got his start as a sushi chef, adding that perfect rice requires constant attention and tweaking.
Cheng also sent out some of his favorite rolls, which were a hit at our table, too. The Jerry Roll ($13) has spicy tuna inside and is topped with delightful yellowtail and tuna; another, the Kobe San Roll ($15), pairs spicy tuna and avocado inside topped with black pepper-seared tuna, which is all finished in a toasted mayonnaise sauce.
Starters shine as well. Classic Shrimp Tempura ($8) is a hit thanks to precise preparation, resulting in a delicate, crispy coating that practically melts in your mouth. And if you like the heat, Shrimp Samba ($9) will do you well thanks to a sweet start and a very peppery finish.
Be sure to take advantage of the lunch menu, featuring hibachi, teriyaki and sushi box options, all around $11 or so. Or make a moment to pull up to the sushi bar, select a bottle of sake and watch the culinary magic unfold before your eyes.
286 Main St., Huntington
Atmosphere: Intimate, warm dining
Cuisine: Japanese, sushi and some hibachi
Hours: Mon., Wed.-Fri. noon-3 p.m., 4:30-10 p.m.; Sat. 2-11 p.m.; Sun. 2-10 p.m.