Des Moines diners could fairly wonder if we truly need another sushi restaurant; however, from what I’ve gathered through press releases, a little online sleuthing and by speaking to their media contact, Liz Adelman, Blue could be to other sushi restaurants what Centro is to other Italian restaurants: With a pizzazzy atmosphere plus nearly 200 seats indoors and 103 seats on the patio, the new venue has the potential to be the next high-energy downtown hot spot.
The modern-urban decor includes a ceiling installation of cut scallop shells stained in blues and greens, with pops of coral color. Jazzing up the lounge is a street-art mural of mixed Japanese design elements.
The voluminous menu opens to plenty of raw and not-raw maki, sashimi and nigiri options, as well as small, medium and large plates. Two items I’m planning to try on my inaugural visit are the Beach Maki (featuring seared albacore, spicy big-eye tuna, spicy crab mix, burdock root, avocado, cilantro, serrano and ponzu) and a medium plate of River Rock Beef (beef tenderloin served on sizzling rocks, with jalapeño, ponzu and yuzu kosho). Happily, sushi traditionalists will be pleased by the more classic side of the menu; there’s also a separate menu for gluten-free diners as well as plenty of vegan options.
The drinks menu is anchored by 15 premium saki choices and also includes craft cocktails, beer, plenty of wines by the glass, and – refreshingly – some thoughtfully purveyed teas as well as three stylish nonalcoholic sips that travel well beyond Perrier with lime.
I should also note that the company is committed to environmentally responsible sourcing of their seafood. A page on their website pinpoints where their fish and seafood are caught or raised, with pop-up boxes that reveal various environmental and sourcing concerns in a given area.
Blue Sushi Sake Grill is at 315 Court Ave.; follow them on Facebook at BlueSushiSakeGrillDesMoines.