Soku: A New Take On Asian Fusion

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Plating design is crucial to how Soku presents its food to diners. (Photo source: Facebook)

The phrase “Asian fusion restaurant” evokes some cliches to restaurant-goers, images of a fad that’s become all too mainstream over the last decade. Chopsticks? My grandmother can use them. Sushi? Boooring.

It takes real creativity to eke novelty out of Asian fusion cuisine, but Great Neck’s Soku Asian Fusion has creativity in spades.

Dining at Soku is a feast for all the senses, a symphony of smells, sounds and aesthetics, both on and off the plate. The eatery exudes a carefully-crafted atmosphere of high-end comfort, offering an elegant dining experience without being bogged down by the haughtiness of other establishments that share its eye for quality.

The attention to detail in every aspect of the experience Soku offers is easy to appreciate. Manager and founding partner Ivan Zhong came up in the world of hotel management, and he’s put his years in the hospitality industry to good use, designing everything from the table settings to the staff uniforms and the plating for various dishes himself to help create a memorable impression with customers. Not a detail of Soku has been put in place without careful consideration.

For Zhong, “consistency” is the key word when it comes to running a successful restaurant, so Soku was patient in its rollout, waiting to get its staffing and foodstuffs just instead of coming out guns blazing before everything was perfectly in place.

Design and décor aside, the food is the most important aspect of any dining experience, and Soku excels across the board with pleasures for any palate.

Chefs at work behind Soku’s combination sushi and beverage bar

True to its Asian fusion label, Soku’s cuisine runs the gamut from nations across the great eastern continent, borrowing dishes and inspiration from Japan, China and Thailand alike, but always with a twist or two that sets their takes on familiar foods apart from the rest.

Think you’ve had every oyster dish imaginable growing up on Long Island? Soku’s Kumamoto Oysters might force you to rethink that. The assortment of a half-dozen oysters garnished with lemongrass comes with a helping of soy sauce that gives the melt-in-your-mouth morsels an extra kick of flavor going down. Tired of boring old sushi? Soku’s Duck Tortillas are anything but. Naming aside, this is a essentially a sushi roll, stuffed with greens and cooked duck breast and wrapped in a scallion pancake with spicy mayo on top. That small world of ingredients blends together to offer Soku one of its more unique dishes, which just happens to be to-die-for delicious. Each and every dish here was worth the weight.

Even the edamame here is a testament to Soku’s spirit for culinary innovation. The steamed soybean dish lesser restaurants so often reduce to barely-salted table dressing is here rebranded with a peppering of chili powder and other spices.

That change from the ordinary in such a blink-and-you-miss-it item is indicative of the whole experience at the restaurant. Soku is an eatery that always goes the extra mile, and maybe even a few more, to stand above the rest.

In the months since it opened on Middle Neck Road, that approach has resonated with diners, who have given Soku an average Yelp rating of 4.5 stars. Anybody who wants to make reservations or inquire about Soku’s catering services can call 516-482-1923.

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