Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I have been meaning to try out Bluefin in Laguna Beach but the long drive down has always stopped me. Ms. Lin was in town and I suggested that we finally try this place to see if they really had the best lunch omakase in town.
As many people know, I love eating sushi and I am always looking for tasty omakases in Orange County.
The normal prices here are pretty steep IMHO, but for lunch their omakase is only $30 for a 6-course and $50 for an 8-course.  It's a better deal to do the $30 because for $10 more on the $50 then you can have 2 lunch omakases.  I prefer 12 courses than just having 2 more courses, especially since they wouldn't even be more sushi courses.
To start off the meal they served a duo of Ankimo (Monk Fish Liver) with Caviar and Gold Flakes on top and a Red Snapper Roll that's wrapped in Cucumber with Gobo and Daikon.  I thought the ankimo was not bad mixed with the caviar and tangy ponzu.  The gold flakes were pretty but mainly for show.  I rather have another gold bracelet than to consume it, but still it's a nice presentation.
The red snapper (Tai) was refreshing.  They put a lot of thought to the presentation of these dishes.  The cucumber was thinly sliced and wrapped around the fish delicately.  Having gobo at the center helps to enhance the savory component.  I love gobo and the crunchy texture.  This roll was very smooth and light.
Next came the Sashimi course.  I was smart and asked that they replace my tuna (maguro) as I am not a fan of it unless it is the fatty area known as toro.  They kindly replaced it with a generous helping of salmon (sake).  The yellow tail (hamachi) was very tender and melted in my mouth.  They also had mackerel (aji) on the plate.
In total there were 6 slices of sashimi that were all very fresh and tasty.  They also have their house made sauce on the bottom that really complemented the dish.  It almost felt like a light salad.  The tangy grilled onions were savory and flavorful.  Be sure to take the shiso leaf in the back and wrap it around a tasty slice to kick the flavor up a notch.
Behind the sushi bar they have a blackboard with specials.  The first thing that caught my eye was the fact that they had razor clams.  I LOVE RAZOR CLAMS! The best way to have them is a la plancha with a pinch of sea salt.  Here the board said it would be Sautéed Razor Clams for $17.
Again, the prices are a little steep here but I had to try it since I hadn't had razor clams since Spain.  This dish was a bit disappointing because it lacked any real flavor.  It was mixed with thin slices of asparagus and a tiny bit of garlic.  I really wished they added more flavor to bring out the natural taste of the razor clam.  Kind of wished we didn't order this, especially for the price.
For the hot dish they served Grilled Halibut with Truffle Oil and Pink Peppercorn.  The aromatic flavor of the truffle emanated through the air.  I thought the fish was nicely grilled and seasoned.  It's a simple yet complicated dish with the herbs and pepper.  The fish was served over a bed of rice that soaked in all the flavors.
One of my favorite things in the world is Foie Gras! To my surprise they actually had seared foie gras as an appetizer with Chilean sea bass, how can I say no to that delightful combination???  YUM! The appetizer is just called Chilean Sea Bass and Foie Gras for $25.  I thought the presentation was very nice as they layered the sea bass with grilled foie gras and a shitake mushroom.  The shiso leaf is fried and topped with a gold leaf to enhance the presentation.
This is a great combination of flavors.  The added kick is the white truffle oil that releases a heavenly fragrance throughout the vicinity.  I thought the foie gras was nicely seared and savory with a hint of sweetness.  The sea bass was nicely cooked and melted in my mouth.  I made sure to use each slice to absorb up some of the sauce.  The sauce was glazed onto the seared foie gras and shitake mushroom.  Even the special berry on the side flavor was super tasty.  I enjoyed how it was nicely soaked in syrup.  A great way to complement all the savory components.  This was definitely one of the best things and I often think about driving down for some more.  If only this place was closer, I'd be there every day for this! Well good thing Bluefin isn't or I'd be destitute soon. lol
Before the dessert was the Sushi course.  For our lunch they served 5 sushi pieces and 2 slices of a roll.  Ms. Lin got the tuna while I had the Kanpachi (amberjack), which was topped with yuzu chili peppers.  I must say, I made the smart choice to avoid tuna because the kanpachi was very tasty and paired with my favorite yuzu chili pepper.  The spicy and salty seasoning really brings out the natural sweetness of the fish.
All the sushi was very fresh and tasty.  I enjoyed the Albacore with their special sauce and green onions.  The albacore melted in my mouth and had a smooth texture. 
They also had Ebi, Shrimp, as part of the sushi platter.  Everything else was really good and this is the only regular sushi that I wish wasn't there but it's not surprising.  It's always your typical sushi to add on because it is the cheapest.  Still, everything else was great.
Another typical fish is the White Fish, which was fine.  It was fresh but I am never a big fan of white fish since it has a little chewier texture.  I prefer my fish to be tender and fatty.  =D
They also have a delicious slice of Hotate, Scallops.  I always enjoy the sweetness and tender texture of raw scallop.  If you haven't had raw scallops, you are missing out.  As long as it is fresh, it's succulent and heavenly.
The Eel California Roll was nicely prepared.  I liked how the Unagi, Eel, was crisp and warm.  This roll is simple but a good ole favorite.
Along with the sushi platter is the Soup with a house made Fish Ball.  Inside are puffed grains and thinly sliced daikon inside.  The soup was very light and piping hot.  It's a nice way to cleanse the palate, but I am not a huge fan of these kinds of clear broth.  Luckily Ms. Lin is around to help finish my soup.
For dessert they served a Pear soaked in Plum Wine with Jelly and fresh Vanilla Ice Cream.  This was not a bad dessert but I personally dislike the taste of alcohol.  Still, I know that many people would enjoy the fruit that's been soaked in plum wine.  I thought the vanilla ice cream was extremely tasty.  The flavors were incredible.  It was the best part of the dish.  I wished dessert was just a big bowl of this ice cream.  Yum!
All in all I was very satisfied with their lunch omakase.  The price was very reasonable for how much they normally charge for their dishes.  BlueFin is very fresh and tasty, but super pricey for sushi.  I recommend coming here for lunch because it is a much better deal.  They are actually pretty busy for lunch so be sure to make a reservation and if you have an Open Table account then be sure to get your points.
I actually came back the next day for dinner.  It is very posh and can be a little snooty from the staff but the food is good.  The chefs seem friendly and know what they are doing.  I took some friends there who had a toddler and they do not have any high chairs.  Even though I am not a fan of children at restaurants, I don't think that they should be so judgmental to my friends who brought their child and were very sweet about the fact that they didn't have high chairs.  Minus a point for this, but that was dinner, the lunch staff have been fine.
BlueFin Sushi
7952 E Coast Hwy
Newport Beach, CA 92651
(949) 715-7373
Bluefin on Urbanspoon


Sedona AZ Dining said...

Very mouth-watering presentations. Great pics and nice review.

Kat said...

Thanks ;)
The prices are steep here but for lunch it's a good deal. I just left and I was happy until the bill came and they auto-charged me 18% on my whole bill. I would've tipped just as much but to be blind-sided makes me mad >=P

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