369 New York Ave, Huntington
(631) 673-7377, toaasianfusion.com
Long Island is awash in so-called Asian Fusion restaurants. Unfortunately there is a boring sameness to many of their menus and their food often falls into the mediocre category. What’s more, virtually none of them are fusing anything. Yet there are welcome exceptions. One of the most recent, TOA (Taste of Asia) opened last October in Huntington Village. It’s an energetic, vital place with a concerned, well-trained staff that offers consistently tasty, interesting (though not fused) food.
TOA is a slick, sophisticated venue with dark decor. Ornate wood lattice panels separate cozy booths that have a soft glow from the hanging balloon-shaped lights and are decorated with jumbo food photos. There’s a sushi bar in the rear of the room and an often raucous, noisy bar at the front (a partition between the bar and dining room would be a godsend for diners who desire conversation).
It’s difficult to go wrong when ordering starters here. We had five for four diners and enjoyed every one: soft, warm pork buns ($8) held just a welcome hint of ginger; a generous salad of sliced avocados harbored cherry tomatoes and sesame dressing ($7). Four pieces of tender, grilled baby spare ribs were escorted by a mélange of cooked vegetables ($15) and the best-of-the-bunch were crystal seafood dumplings ($8) in soft, melt-in- the-mouth skins (no need to bite through to the seafood.)
At entrée time pay attention to the sangria crispy duck— strips of sprightly meat with a small puddle of tropical red wine sauce and sidekicks of cucumbers, lily roots, pineapple and mango perched on steamed mixed greens ($25). Thai red curry seafood casserole yields lobster, shrimp and just a smidgen of spicy kick ($26). Szechuan crispy dry beef ($25) is shredded into thin strips, then sautéed with Szechuan sauce in a wok creating unexpected but desirable taste and texture. Fish lovers can’t go wrong with either the Thai sea bass ($26) or grilled Chilean sea bass ($26). Both were beautiful specimens—lovely, briny and velvety.
Wine here is pricey. The least expensive bottle costs $34, many are $100 or more and a few are a thousand dollars and over. And aside from the fried cheesecake or Oreos (both $8) all desserts at TOA are made elsewhere but the chocolate trilogy ($8) and pineapple sorbet ($8) deserve attention. Unfortunately so does the delivery of dishes, which was left to runners who don’t know who ordered them, rather than waitresses who do.