Kisoro

Kisoro
227 Old Country Rd, Carle Place
516-747-8880, kisorosuhicarleplace.com

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Kisoro, in Carle Place, is one of the latest entries in the avalanche of Asian fusion restaurants opening all over Long Island. This flashy, brightly-lit shopping center sushi spot opened in late March and is typical of the genre, but also offers some interesting surprises.

Almost every new local Asian eatery calls itself fusion. Most are predominately Japanese or Chinese restaurants in disguise. Kisoro is the former with a minor sprinkling of dishes other than Japanese mainstays: General Tso’s chicken and pad Thai come to mind. Like the other Asian fusions they don’t fuse the cuisines of different nations, but rather offer the standard preparations of those countries. They are actually pan-Asian. And when was the last time you heard about a new Chinese restaurant opening? Chinese-Japanese, yes. Thai-Japanese, yes. Korean-Japanese and so on, yes. But where have all the Chinese gone? Many of them own and operate the Asian fusion restaurants, including the Japanese-skewed ones like Kisoro where the owners, managers, chefs, waitstaff and even sushi chefs are Chinese.

Kisoro can be recommended for more than its stunning sushi bar and multi-colored globe and strip lighting. While the sushi is fine and fresh there are at least two other more memorable dishes. Best is the seafood rainbow casserole, a piping hot bowl brimming with a smooth, sweet, just slightly spicy Thai curry sauce ($24). Swimming in that sauce is a huge, dazzling array of jumbo shrimp, scallops and not one but two lobster tails. A close second is the jumbo shrimp and vegetable ($14 or $17) in a rich sesame sauce with an explosive flavor. It’s a dish that extracts more punch than seems possible from familiar ingredients.

Most of the other food sampled met expectations at the least. Only a tasty but soggy scallion pancake ($5) missed the mark. The delicate seaweed salad ($5) was first class and the salmon carpaccio ($10) delivered a double dose of spice from its jalapeños and zingy lemon sauce. The merely satisfactory tuna dumpling composed of spicy lobster seaweed and mango salsa ($9) sounded a bit more exciting than it was. The crazy rainbow roll of tuna, salmon, white tuna and spicy white fish combined with avocado and seaweed salad ($12) was a gratifying pick among the sushi special rolls.

Light eaters should consider the sushi and sashimi combo ($24). It had smallish samplings of both and a spicy tuna roll preceded by either the predictable miso soup or the equally predictable salad. (Anything but standard is a sake given a slightly sweet turn by plum juice.)

The desserts are of the copycat variety seemingly offered on every menu of every Asian restaurant in the universe. (Think ice cream, fried cheesecake, fried bananas, etc.)

Most of the charm at Kisoro is on the plates. Service is at best amateurish. An overanxious, inexperienced waitress came to our table every two minutes long before we were ready to order and no one delivering the dishes had any idea who ordered them.

photos by yvonne albinowski

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richard jay scholem

Richard Jay Scholem practically invented the Long Island restaurant culture through 800+ reviews of the region's eateries both on radio and in print over the last 30 years. He is a former New York Times Long Island Section restaurant reviewer, has contributed to the Great Restaurants of...magazines and Bon Vivant, authored a book, aired reviews on WGSM and WCTO radio stations, served on the board of countless community and food and beverage organizations, and received many accolades for his journalism in both print and broadcast media. He is currently available for restaurant consultation. Reach him at (631) 271-3227.