Neighbourhood: Exchange District
Address: 179 Bannatyne Ave
Phone: (204) 779-9888
Since spring 2006 Blüfish has been servicing the Exchange District and beyond with fresh and fun Japanese fare. In a market saturated with strip-mall sushi joints this romantic retreat prevails thanks to a not-so-secret industry secret: consistency. From a diner’s perspective this is superlative. Consistent atmosphere, service and culinary execution builds appreciation and trust; foundations of any great relationship.
The dining room’s well maintained original décor has proven to be insightful, sidestepping the trap of time-stamped interiors. Saturated orange and blue walls are warmed by light refracted through pretty glass sconces. The effect is soothing and romantic.
A well-edited line up of rolls are proficiently executed renditions of usual suspects and house signatures with sparingly seasoned rice. A black Russian concoction playfully combines scarcely sweet surf clam and scallop with garden notes of red cabbage, asparagus and a briny crown of tabiko-studded prosciutto.
Blüfish balances sophistication with a healthy dose of fun. It was first to introduce West Coast street meat phenom, the Japadog, to the Prairies. This exercise in casual fusion uses the American hot dog as a vehicle for quintessential Japanese condiments, such as pickled diakon, sweet mayo, wakame and tempura flakes.
Pan-seared cuttlefish may initially alienate the timid with its rubbery crunch, but with a modicum of persistence and ginger-laced teriyaki sauce it’s impossible to stop eating. Try the gyoza, too; sweet pork with complementary green onion tendrils deftly sealed in tight dumplings are a familiar pleasure worth revisiting here.
Pretty on the plate and fun to pull apart, soft shell crab tempura presents two distinct textures. The legs are crisp finger food to be dipped French fry fashion into silky mirin-sweetened sauce. Next, wielding chopsticks, tuck into the body and savour its rich flesh.
Generous cuts of tuna and salmon shine simply drizzled with warm extra virgin olive oil and minced green onion over a nest of shredded daikon. This new style presentation is a tasty comparison study in the nuances of taste and texture between the species.
End on the lingering sensory pleasure of chocolate lava cake. It’s warm, oozing centre strikes a chord of calculated dessert decadence too often overlooked by Blüfish’s peers.
Blüfish is open for lunch Mon-Fri 11:30 am-2 pm; dinner: Mon-Thu 5 pm-9:30 pm; Fri & Sat 4:30 pm-11 pm.