I happened upon Blufish Sushi Bistro one evening when I was in the northern suburbs of Chicago. The on-line description of the place was sort of vague, but it got a number of glowing user reviews on Google. I thought I'd check the place out to see if it was really worthy of the five stars everyone seemed to be giving the place.
Blufish Sushi Bistro is located in the Playa del Prado shopping center at the corner of Willow Road and Pfingsten in the Glenview/Northbrook area. (see map) The main store in the L-shaped strip mall is a Jewel-Osco store on the east side, and Blufish Sushi Bistro is located on the south side of the strip mall, just to the west of a McDonald's and a Starbucks. Blufish has a second location that opened in the summer of 2011 in Park Ridge, about five miles south of the Glenview location. (see map)
Blufish Sushi Bistro is a contemporary Japanese restaurant that features, of course, sushi, as well as steaks, seafood, and eclectic food fare such as Beef Tataki - thin slices of seared beef served with a Ponzu sauce; Gyoza - pan fried and steamed pork-wasabi dumplings; and shumai - steamed shrimp dumplings served with a spicy sauce.
Blufish features a pleasant and cozy dining area with a small lounge in the front. Contemporary fixtures and lighting are found throughout the place. One side of the dining room has banquette bench seating. I'm not a big fan of this type of seating in a restaurant. It's like you're sharing a seat with the person next to you, often someone you don't know. I was greeted by a pleasant hostess and I asked if there was room at the sushi bar. There happened to be one seat left. Yes, yes - I know. I don't like to sit in banquette seats because it's like sharing a seat with a stranger. But I'll sit right next to a person I don't know at a sushi bar, sharing the table top. I'm weird about that.
The hostess guided me to a seat at the far end of the rather unique sushi bar and she gave me a menu to look through. The table top of the bar was underlit with a soothing aqua blue light. It was like nothing I've ever come across before. Vota candles were lined up along the top of sushi bar.
Quite actually, the sushi menu at Blufish was immense. Not only did they have the individual nigiri sushi, they had a number of interesting rolls and featured sushi entrees. One that jumped out at me was the Dragon Fire -it featured soft-shell crab, asparagus, & eel all wrapped with thin slices of tuna. It's then topped with black tobiko (which is flying fish roe - I had to ask) then topped with a chili sauce. It's then covered with Bacardi 151 rum and set on fire. It sort of sounded like the Playboy roll at Naked Tchopstix in Indianapolis. That's the kind of sushi roll you want to share with more than one person because the lighting of the flame is good entertainment.
Blufish also had the Tuna Flight - a sampling of all the tunas available that evening. And they had 7 different types of tuna on the menu and I thought that would be a great starter. I ordered one of the Tuna Flights and a large bottle of Asahi beer. The waitress came back and apologetically said that they had sold out of the O-toro and Chu-toro tuna - the two fattiest grades (and the best tasting) of all sushi tuna cuts. I picked up the menu again and quickly ordered a spicy tuna roll as well as a spicy salmon roll (something I don't see very often in sushi restaurants). I also ordered a couple pieces each of the tuna, smoked salmon and the yellowtail.
Even though Blufish was busy, my sushi platter showed up in front of me in less than 10 minutes. The presentation was absolutely stunning. I just sort of sat there and looked at the platter for a minute before I dug in.
The first thing I tried was the spicy tuna roll. It was great - it had a sneaky spicy taste to it. But the better of the two spicy rolls was the salmon roll. It was even a little more spicy and had a wonderful sushi flavor to it. Both the spicy tuna and spicy salmon rolls were wrapped in seaweed, another nice little touch you don't often find at other sushi places.
The tuna sushi was outstanding, as was the yellowtail. The yellowtail had absolutely no hint of fishy taste to it, something that I encounter from time to time at other sushi restaurants. The smoked salmon was a little disappointing - it didn't have that good smoky flavor I like in my smoked salmon sushi. But, still, it was excellent in quality and taste. I was far from disappointed in my sushi at Blufish.
Blufish Sushi Bistro has just gone to the top of my list for sushi restaurants in the north suburbs of Chicago. The atmosphere was excellent, the interior of the place was interesting and the food - and service - was top-notch. Blufish was absolutely fabulous. There's a lot of very good to great sushi places in the Chicagoland region and Blufish is definitely one of them.