• North Carolina (2)

Raleigh, NC — Sushi Blues Cafe

Categories: North Carolina
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Published on: April 26, 2007
Sushi Blues Cafe
301 Glenwood Ave
Raleigh, NC

I was in Cary, North Carolina for a week and a colleague recommended Sushi Blues Cafe. I was reluctant to try it because it sounded a bit too trendy for my tastes. By the middle of the week I decided to give it a try, When I googled the restaurant I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were open until 11:30 on Wednesday nights! When I looked them up in the GPS I found that Sushi Blues was only about five miles from my hotel.

Sushi Blues is located in Raleigh’s Glenwood Avenue district. In the neighborhood are several upscale restaurants and bars. When I drove through, at 10pm on a weeknight, the place was hopping. There were people sitting at sidewalk tables, you could hear music coming from several bars and there were people walking up and down the street.

When I got to Sushi Blues, the main dining room was closed but they offer full service at the bar (drink bar not sushi bar) and at tables in the bar area. The restaurant has a slightly industrial decor. I found the lighting too dim and had to use the candle on my table to read the menu. Perhaps it is my eyes but the menu font was very difficult to read.

After struggling with the menu I ordered edameme, a Santana Roll and a Coltrane Roll. Of course Santana and Coltrane are not normal sushi names. In keeping with the restaurants Jazz/Blues motif, many menu items were named for famous musicians. The Jazz posters over the doorway was a nice touch.

The Coltrane Roll was a Philladelphia Roll consisting of smoked salmon, cream cheese and lettuce. The Santana Roll was a combination of tuna, salmon, yellowtail, asparagus and scallions. The Coltrane Roll was good but the Santana Roll was awesome. The combination of fish, all fresh and flavorful, along with the slightly crunchy asparagus was perfect. Presentation was only fair, I often comment on whether the  rolls I order are portioned evenly — at Sushi Blues, I cannot believe that the chef even tried.

The sign on the door listed a closing time of 11pm while the web site said 11:30pm. Some customers were turned away at the door because of this and they were not happy. On the topic of the web site, I found the blue on blue text hard  to read

Good sushi in a cool neighborhood — I’l be back.

Sushi Blues Cafe: 4 rice bowls * * * * -

Cary, NC — An New World Cuisine

Categories: North Carolina
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Published on: April 26, 2007
An New World Cuisine
2800 Renaissance Park Place
Cary, NC

Two and a half years ago I started reviewing sushi restaurants. This is my 100th review. I actually happened upon An by accident. I was in Cary, North Carolina. Using the Hertz GPS I had planned to go to Bonefish, a seafood restaurant for lunch. What the GPS did not tell me was that Bonefish only served dinner. With my lunch hour almost up I stopped by the nearest restaurant, An.

I would describe An as a trendy Asian fusion restaurant. When An was built they went all out to provide a modern look. From the massive doors to the high ceilings with windows, the restaurant was nicely done inside and out. I especially appreciated the light in the dining room. Even the menus were presented in binders bound in wood.

I ordered the Imperial Roll appetizer (egg roll not Maki roll). I am a sucker for anything with mushrooms in it so the Imperial Rolls were a no-brainer. The rolls were very good and I ordered a sushi combo to go with it.

My combo included a California Roll and five pieces of nigiri. I thought the portions were generous. California Rolls are not my favorite but An’s was good. The nigiri was fresh but not exceptional.

The coolest thing about An was not the decor and not even the food. My pet peeve is spending $20-40 on a sushi dinner and having to eat it with disposable pull-apart wooden chopsticks. An provided each diner with a nicely sanded but not overly polishes set of wooden chopsticks — nice touch.

An was pricey but with the atmosphere and the food quality, I now I’ll be back.

An: 4 rice bowls * * * * -
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