Address: 179 Bannatyne Ave
For more than a decade, Blüfish has been an oasis of relaxed, sophisticated cool in the Exchange District. High quality ingredients make this a spot for sushi purists looking for traditional delights, but the other side of the menu offers playful specialties, with unexpected ingredients and creative flavour pairings.
Though the Exchange has become ever more popular, with restaurants springing up in heritage buildings all across the ‘hood, Blüfish remains the only sushi bar. It continues to be a popular pick for slick business lunches and after work drinks.
The atmosphere is chic, with dark orange walls adorned with colourful glass sconces that mute the light to a warm glow.
The kitchen has a knack for sashimi, crafting smart variations of the raw fish dish that incorporate strong flavours, like truffle oil or cajun spice. Plump prawns and pillowy scallops appear in a Thai style sashimi, hit with a bracing rush of lime and vinaigrette touched with pungent fish sauce. Chopped octopus is tossed with wedges of cucumber in another standout starter. The mixture is dressed in a kimchi sauce that delivers notes of fermentation and sweetness under a light, slow burning spiciness.
Tempura–dipped scallops with spicy mayo bring a sense of fun to the meal, for those looking for a side of drama with dinner. The juicy fried morsels are cupped in a shell shaped dish, hovering over a plate of oil that is set alight on its way to the table, gently singeing the outermost scallops before burning itself out. A neat trick; or maybe, a way to keep eager diners from scalding tongues on these fresh from the fryer bites.
A wide selection of rolls ranges from maki to nigiri, and some vegetarian options. Signature rolls take creative steps into unexpected territory, with delicious results. Torched scallops and tobiko are tucked into a bundle of rice and wrapped in sheets of prosciutto. The salty pork gives way to the richness of the filling, accented by the dollop of crab and shredded nori topping each piece. The lobster roll—satisfying, though not hefty—is covered with salmon and drizzled with a perky honey sauce.
Catering to its crowd of downtown devotees, Blüfish offers bargain lunchtime bento boxes, with a mix of rolls, salad, and tempura, and dinner combination plates.