I had lunch at Blowfish (11th Ave SW, just west of Broken City/Amsterdam Rhino, etc) after too many weeks away and got to check out the renos (it was closed for much of Dec-Jan for them). New lighter paint scheme brightens the joint up; the huge lamps were brought down from ceiling height, and unfortunately due to insoluble ventilation issues they had to close off the opening b/t kitchen and dining room where I used to sit and watch the sushi chefs- it's now a sort of black-glass window with the Blowfish logo in clear letters- so the kitchen is still visible but no more being handed your plates from the chef directly. So it goes- in most respects I'd call it an improvement.
So I sat at the bar (the bar bar; there is no "sushi bar" per se) and ordered yellowtail belly sashimi and one each yam-avocado roll and spicy tuna roll. I have--I am ashamed to admit this but here goes--I have never ordered sashimi. I've eaten it when others have ordered it and it's not that I'm squeamish; I just have never ordered it, so this was a new thing for me. One order of nigiri at Blowfish is, as many of you already know, a two-piece assortment with one piece done trad "naked" and other duded-up in some way; seared maybe, or with a slice of pepper or something like that. With sashimi an order is four slices of fish and a little of the accompanying shredded cabbage. As with nigiri, half is plain raw fish, and in the case of this yellowtail, half was lightly seared. Spectacular! Beautiful cuts and the seared ones in particular were just delicious- warm on top, cool on the bottom, loved this.
The rolls are always a treat for me but this time they were exceptionally well-formed and gorgeously plated. The spicy tuna has a filling of avocado and some fried bits, tempura batter I think, and the tuna is draped over the outside- this means that Blowfish does not use macerated scraps for its spicy tuna. And the slices were super-thin and draped artfully so that there were three of these thin slices on each bite of the roll- this can't be easy to do and in fact I've never seen a roll arranged as carefully as this. WIth the yam-avocado there is tempura sweet potato inside and thin slices of avocado outside, done with as much care as the tuna had been. On each morsel of this roll is a small dollop of mango mayonnaise. Too pretty for words and, more importantly, the tastes were as delicious as any sushi I've had anywhere.
I talked to owner Gemma and she asked if I'd met the new chef. New chef? Apparently the former chef has moved to Canmore. And as much as I loved Blowfish before, it's done the impossible by improving on perfection with this new chef. I didn't get to meet him (another problem with the closed-off kitchen) but will look forward to more meals there.
Lunch was $32, pricey lunch but worth every penny.