Tuesday, 3 August 2010

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blufish

I managed to be in Winnipeg for another long weekend, and with that came the opportunity to try another restaurant in town.  Fortunately, a few more friends of mine who thankfully are, for argument's sake, about as adventurous on the food front as I am are now living in town (one of whom I must credit with the inspirational title for this entry).  That meant one thing for me: foodie dine-out!

With more people in a dinner party, it made perfect sense to go to restaurants that serve dishes that are inherently shared at a table, and for this long weekend, it meant Blufish.  Wasabi on Broadway is still my personal benchmark for sushi in Winnipeg, but since neither I nor my friends have tried Blufish yet, and since Blufish was in a more convenient location for everyone, we decided to give this little place a try.  With a limited number of seats, reservations are recommended, but perhaps because it was a long weekend the place wasn't packed that Saturday evening.

We first ordered some appetizers for ourselves, gyoza for one couple, edamame for a third person, deep fried soft shell crab for the fourth, and octopus sunomono salad for myself.  Though the cucumbers were pickled just right for my tastes with the right amount of sweetness to balance the sourness, I was admittedly disappointed that there were very few noodles; it was in essence a cucumber salad rather than a noodle & cucumber salad.  I still prefer Wasabi's version of the sunomono salad, of which a picture can be found here.  I also tried a gyoza, and though it didn't have a crispy bottom like some Chinese versions (including my parents') do, it was tasty and not too greasy (though I've yet to find a restaurant serving gyoza with less grease than my parents' version).

Next we shared quite a few dishes.  We ordered octopus and toro (tuna belly) sashimi, which were eye-openers for some of my friends there.  The octopus is one of the chewier seafood items but had a clean taste and texture, while the toro was decadent with the tuna fat melting on one's tongue, letting its richer flavour spread throughout one's mouth.  Alas, we were all so intent on digging into the food I'd totally forgotten to take pictures of that dish.

I also forgot to take pictures of the White Truffle Tuna Carpaccio before we started eating, but I managed to take a picture of my second slice (and the last slice of the dish).  Resting on a bed of shredded daikon and garnished with tobiko, the tuna's own flavour was subtler as the white truffle oil permeated, creating another successful combination of Japanese cuisine with some ingredients normally associated with Western cuisine.

Also served to us at that time was the Aburi Tuna Sushi.  The tuna slices were marinated and torched just enough to have contrasting flavours of raw and cooked tuna without significantly affecting the texture.  This was a simple-looking yet delightful dish.

Next on our table were two items: if memory serves me right, the row on top was the Ben roll, while I'm very sure the bottom row was Bakudan.  The Ben roll was decadent with unagi (eel), cucumber and avocado wrapped in the middle and topped with shrimp and tuna, creating a colourful mix of flavours in one's mouth.  The Bakudan, on the other hand, is subtler with just tuna and tempura crumbs... until the chili sauce hits you hard.  Though not too spicy (for me at least), it was the strongest element in that sushi creation, which was a unique departure from other sushi dishes we had that evening where the focus of the flavours were more on what was in the sushi, and most of the time the fish used in the sushi.  Cubes of marinated salmon sashimi were also served on the side, and that was a delight!

Next was a gorgeous platter with three types (clockwise from top): Futomaki, Super Dynamite, and (if I recall alright) Dragon.  This version of Futomaki used marinated shiitake mushrooms which, along with the kampyo created a sweet offset to the mildly savoury egg and rice and the more neutral cucumber.  The Super Dynamite had me with the soft shell crab, shrimp tempura and avocado all in the middle of that roll, and it was also one of the more deliciously rich rolls we had that evening.  The Dragon also made the best of combining several fish, in this case the BBQ eel in the middle and the salmon on the outside.

With that large platter came the Vegetarian Caterpillar.  One of my friends apparently has a weakness for shiitake mushrooms (woo-hoo, a fellow hobbit when it comes to mushrooms!), which is why he ordered that one for us to share.  Though one of the simpler rolls we tried that evening, having nothing in it but marinated shiitake and cucumber with avocado on top for the caterpillar look, I still had a good impression of it, and the miso-based drizzle added to the dish quite nicely.

Lastly, three of us were able to take just one more but smaller item, so I opted for the Spicy Blufish Scallops.  Served warm and with flair thanks to the blue flame, the scallops, prepared tempura style, were fat and juicy, and the spicy mayo complemented very well (with the spiciness not as powerful as in Bakudan).  That, topped off with some green tea ice cream for dessert, definitely hit the spot for me.  Speaking of green tea, I had some genmaicha again, but this place's tea is served quite uniquely.  Instead of teapots, some form of decanter is used where the liquor pours from the bottom when pressed onto the top of a cup.  Though prone to spills on the table if handled carelessly, it was a most amusing design in serving tea.

Blufish impressed me (and apparently my friends) with its creations with respect to presentation, flavour and quality.  This place now gives me to date a second option to most satisfactorily get my next sushi fix whenever I'm once again in Winnipeg.

Name: Blufish
Address: 179 Bannatyne Ave., Winnipeg, MB
Cuisine: Neo-Japanese
Price Range: Lunch & Dinner $30-70
Accessible: No

No comments:

Post a Comment