MONSOON ASIAN KITCHEN & LOUNGE
Massapequa, (516) 882-9688
Ginza is the splashiest, flashiest, most modern Japanese restaurant on Long Island. This glittering newcomer stands out with its mirrored exterior, soaring pillars, huge Japanese statuary, sexy indirect lighting, hanging strands of silver beads overhead, high ceiling and long bar with lighted surface. And it is welcomed in an area of Massapequa near the Sunrise Mall that has been a desert for serious restaurants. Ginza, an often crowded, noisy spot instantly changed all of that. On busy weekend nights, five fast-moving sushi chefs toil for hours without a break or even a chance to lift their heads and look around. Tables are at a premium, while would-be diners, some swinging in pod-like capsule seats hanging from the bar’s ceiling, patiently wait to sample the Japanese delicacies within.
The culinary headliner here is the fish flown in from Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market, but Ginza offers more than that. In fact, despite little-encountered ingredients like o-toro and chu-toro tuna Kumamoto oysters, etc, the taste difference between these and the standard counterparts might not be apparent to many, yet the price differential is significant. The Ginza sushi platter containing their rarified ingredients costs $38 (two others are more than $40), while the garden-variety sushi platter goes for $23. Both are recommended—which one depends on your curiosity and budget.
Also recommended is the subtle, restrained version of cream of wild mushroom soup ($6), the superior seaweed salad ($6), six tasty little Kobe beef meatballs ($12) with their creative sweet wasabi aioli dip, thin slices of rare, tender tuna tataki ($12), fresh and flaky grilled wild Pacific salmon ($23) on a bed of vegetable ragu enhanced with blood orange miso, and two chef special rolls, the TNT ($18) and the Massapequa ($16). The first is anchored by bluefin chopped toro combined with tuna, avocado and mango garlic chips with a touch of truffle soy, while the Massapequa also features chopped toro and avocado, plus scallion, jumbo sweet shrimp and red, black and wasabi Tobiko.
Almost all desserts tend toward the Occident more than the Orient. The Bomba Tartufo ($7) sounds exotic but is a familiar Italian sweet. The chocolate and vanilla ice cream is a chocolate covered egg-shaped affair with a touch of fruit and nuts, while the cheesecake ($9) has a firm, fried surface.
Unfortunately, service at Ginza isn’t on the same level as the food. All dishes are auctioned off by waiters who never have any idea who ordered what. Be prepared for questions like “Who ordered the tuna tataki?” And while Ginza is more Manhattan than Massapequa, in this case, that means beat music and sound ricocheting off the sharp but hard-surfaced restaurant walls resulting at peak times in a noisy, shoutsville milieu.
photos by stephen lang