The restaurant closed, and re-opened as K. Pacho, under the same chef, with a cheaper price point, serving Mexican food. Yes, I’m serious.
I don’t usually venture into Nassau County for food, with the exception of Peter Lugers, not much interests me. Once your palette is blessed with the culinary sophistication that is New York City, restaurants in other places do not compare. “Go to the city” was my only response for those seeking Long Island dining advise. Sure the advise is not helpful, but I justify it as an attempt to elevate eating standards. When friends come back from a night out at Manhattan all smiles, I know I’ve accomplished my duty.
Then two weeks ago, at the suggestion of a friend who used to work at Nobu, I was told to try a new restaurant called Two Steak and Sushi Den in lake success. The name stems from its combination of steak and sushi, two of my favorite food items. The restaurant makes it abundantly clear that it is not fusion, but rather bringing two separate cuisines, in its highest form into a single location. All of it in an excessively glitzy environment, with an oversized bar, and too many flat panel TVs, with loud banging music…..
If you’re a self-professed foodie, having read thus far, are you afraid yet?
Then my friend started telling me that the restaurant sourced their chefs from Nobu, Gari, and Megu. The name dropping definitely got my attention. The he told me how the GM of Two was also a former employee at Nobu for some extra assurance. At least we’re sure someone will be there to take care of us.
Arriving at the restaurant on a weekday evening, the parking lot was calm and orderly. On weekends, however, it is a completely different story, as exotics and luxury vehicles line up for the valet to grant them a parking spot. This neighborhood has money, recession or not. The interior of the restaurant is stylish, with the aim to please everyone. Sushi bar for purveyors of raw fish, separate dining area for steak, a huge bar for drinks, and a basement for parties. Not going to win any design awards for theme, but eye pleasing enough nonetheless.
As soon as we were seated, the GM came by and had a quick chat with us. His knowledge of Japanese food in NYC was abundant, and upon hearing my background as a food writer, he seemed eager to share with us Two’s interpretation of many Manhattan mainstays. What followed was an omakase by the general manager, we’re in your hands Jack.
First came yakitori, a.k.a BBQ Skewers. Jack came by to tell us about the background of this Japanese yakitori expert, who supposedly has a movie out in Japan based on his experiences. This immediately drew comparison at my table to Yakitori Totto (the incumbent yakitori shrine, in my opinion). While the flavors are good, serving it all together meant some skewers were not at the ideal temperature.
The next two dishes were sashimi, which you can easily see reference to Nobu Matsuhisa. The fish was fresh, and presentation very elegant. While not as refined as Nobu (and nowhere near as expensive), this was quite good, and got me excited about the coming courses.
As per proper Nobu style neo-Japanese omakase, the cooked dishes came right after. We had a bit of foie gras and a deep fried spring roll. Fascinating flavors and presentation, and without clear inspiration from any of the aforementioned Japanese restaurants. Perhaps for that reason, this dish tasted weaker than the others.
Then came some seriously Gari-inspired nigiri sushi. I’m not going to recount each type of fish, but they were all matched with a unique sauce, Gari style. I’ve never been a fan of using excessive sauces to overpower the fish, but this was nicely done. Gari-san would be flattered by this forgery.
The dinner was capped with a table-side, liquid nitrogen pouring display of ice cream making. Not something you’d expect from a Japanese restaurant. This definitely comes from the steak side. Causes quite a scene, not the best tasting ice cream though.
Those who know me know I don’t dine often on Long Island, not just because the options are limited, but because we ultimately draw comparison to places in the city. Two, however begs to be compared, as they serve almost identical dishes to their chef’s origins. While I can get a better version of each course from the NYC original, the fact that these dishes are all available under one roof is quite spectacular. Not having to worry about parking is always a plus too.
Now, for those who are perhaps planning their own visit to Two after reading this, here’s a request to you. When you dine at Two, challenge the chefs! Some of the chefs at Two are already complaining that they’re not challenged out here in Long Island, because diners simply order rolls, not exotic nigiri sushi. If this keeps up, I don’t know how long the quality of Two can stay up to Manhattan standards. So while you’re there, order the unique courses, and stay away from the Tuna rolls. Diners ultimately get the restaurants they deserve, if we all elevated our level of eating, good restaurants will follow.
What does this rating mean?
Two Steak and Sushi Den (Make a Reservation)
1270 Union Turnpike
New Hyde Park, NY 11040