I just got back from visiting my parents in OC, and we got to stop by Bluefin in Newport Coast, and I thought I'd write up a little report. It's in a newer shopping center called Crystal Cove Promenade at the corner of PCH and Crystal Hts. This is the new restaurant from Takashi Abe who opened the venerable, namesake restaurant, Abe.
We went there for lunch, and they have what I think is a really great deal. For $30, you get a 5-course omakase. That might sound a lot for an average sushi place where you just strap on the ol' feedbag, but the dishes are presented so well, and you'll probably get some items that you might not find elsewhere easily.
We started out with the most exotic dish, a couple of small bites of monkfish liver terrine accompanied by a shooter of salmon roe and miso broth. The second dish was a Suzuki Carpaccio, thin slices of raw striped sea bass drizzled with chive oil on a bed of baby arugula. All of these dishes were both beautiful and delicious.
The next course was a plate with 3 items, a snowcrab tempura roll, a honey/miso-marinaded Chilean sea bass, and a cute tiny little whole crab that had been deep-fried. The roll had 3 bite-size snowcrab pieces rolled with seaweed, and then dipped with tempura batter and fried. It came with light pink sauce, which I believe was made from shellfish. The honey/miso seabass was moist, sweet, and savory. I like the mini whole crab, it's basically a smaller, crunchier version of soft shell crab. I do wish that the crab was seasoned a little more though.
Next up was a place of nigiri sushi. Nothing too exotic here, but the fish was fresh and delicious. One nice surprising touch was a little omelet "purse" filled with rice.
The dessert was banana gelato with a sauce made from sweet black sesame seed paste.
So all in all, it was a great experience. I don't think I've had a Japanese meal of this quality for this price. Note that the $30 price for the omakase is only for lunch. The prices for dinner jump up considerably. I believe you can get omakase for $65 to over $100 per person. You can also order sushi a la carte, and probably some other items as well (I forgot to take a look at their normal menu :(
I had trouble looking up the address for Bluefin since they're new, but here's the address for a place in the same shopping center:
7961 Pacific Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(It's the Pacific Whey cafe. They make incredibly addictive cinnamon custard danishes.)
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