Inatome Japanese Steak House & Sushi
6 Fifth St., Valley Stream
(516) 872-0419, www.lihibachi.com
Dining with Keiji Inatome, the son of owners Sezaburo and Katsuko Inatome, was not only a pleasure, but enlightening. This is a restaurant with decades of history, and most recently, the result of a challenge that was overcome with passion and resolve.
Inatome Japanese Steak House opened in 1975, in a building the family had purchased. In 1978, the owners also opened Isono Japanese Restaurant in Floral Park, which included a sushi bar. The outside Zen garden at Inatome was created in 1980, and for over 30 years, the restaurant prevailed as a landmark in Valley Stream. But, in 2010, a devastating fire destroyed the building.
When over 200 emails from customers offering support and help, came in the day following the fire, the Inatome’s knew that reopening was imminent. Most of the staff helped out and later returned to work. After eighteen months of planning, reconstruction and hard work, Inatome reopened.
Better than ever, Inatome is now equipped with downdraft smokeless hibachi grill tables, bamboo room dividers, high ceilings, a sushi counter, and a lounge that serves cocktails, traditional Japanese cuisine, sashimi and sushi. There are now two separate kitchens. Sushi Chef Koichi Sugimoto, who trained in Japan and worked for many years in Manhattan, often uses fish and meats exclusive to Japan, and makes everything - even the soy sauce – from scratch. You’ll find ingredients here not usually found in most Asian restaurants. Hibachi chefs use rice oil, a light and healthy option. Tables seat eight to 12 guests.
We started with a Lychee Martini and a bottle of cold Dasai sake. Our appetizer, Tsukii Express Sashimi, featured a sampling of Japanese fish, such as sweet lips. From the specialty rolls that depict Inatome’s history, we enjoyed the 1975 Roll - tender grilled beef sushi roll topped with cream cheese and Jalapeño sauce – describing the year they opened, when raw fish wasn’t as popular. Appetizers and specialty sushi rolls range from $3 to $15 with many options. Sushi, sashimi, noodle, tempura, katsu, and Omakase entrees are $15.95 to $50.