• Nebraska (2)

Omaha, NE — Blue Sushi Sake Grill

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Published on: January 11, 2006
Blue Sushi Sake Grill
14450 Eagle Run Drive
Omaha, NE

Normally I don’t like trendy restaurants so I wasn’t sure about Blue. Everyone said that Blue was the best sushi restaurant in Omaha so I had to try it. When I walked in I saw the lounge out front with the low couches and lighted tables. The place was definitely trendy — I made a mental note to not  hold it against Blue in my ratings.

The staff at Blue was attentive and friendly. When the waitress brought my water there was a cucumber slice in it. The silver chopsticks were a really nice touch. I have always wondered how fine Chinese restaurants manage to supply plastic chopsticks while even the best sushi bars use cheap wooden break-aparts.

I went to Blue intending to have sushi or sashimi and something unusual happened, I got side tracked. Blue could best be described as an Asian fusion bar and restaurant with a sushi bar. I decided to order a Philadelphia roll as an appetizer along with some very intriguing duck and lime spring rolls. For my entree I chose Atlantic Salmon stuffed with Spinach and Shitake mushrooms served with a risotto cake and mango glaze. The duck spring rolls were very tasty but for my taste, the mix of duck meat to vegetables was too small. The stuffing was absolutely perfect but for a sushi place the fish was a little bit too done and dry.

Since this is a sushi blog, let me get to the sushi. Blue did not have any daily specials but their Maki menu had a huge selection of intriguing specialties. I saw several very nice rolls delivered to nearby tables. My Philadelphia roll had the smoked salmon on the outside and was covered with very finely sliced scallions.

I am going to have to come back and have a full sushi meal at Blue. I am guessing that it will be good.

Blue Sushi Sake Grill: 3 rice bowls * * * - -

Omaha, NE — Sushi Ichiban

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Published on: January 10, 2006
Sushi Ichiban
8035 West Dodge Road
Omaha, NE

I have a great idea for your next party. If you like to play board games like my family — try playing Taboo.  In Taboo the goal is to get your team to say a word by giving clues. The catch is you get a list of words that cannot be used in the clues. For example if the word is sushi — the forbidden words would be Japanese, raw, fish, soy sauce, chef and wasabi.

So when sushi comes up say, Omaha, Nebraska, Midwest or International House of Pancakes. Your friends of course will think you’re crazy. Maybe I am crazy but tonight, while in Omaha on business, I went out in search of sushi. I asked my colleagues where to find the best sushi in Omaha. My colleagues suggested that I should try Sushi Ichiban.

Sushi Ichiban is a sushi restaurant locate in a converted IHOP in the middle of the midwestern city of Omaha, Nebraska. Needless to say my expectations were not very high when I visited Sushi Ichiban. As I drove down Dodge Street, I saw the distinctive shape of an old style IHOP with the steep roof and the imitation exposed timbers. The parking lot was full — a good sign.

Upon entering the restaurant, I saw that the old IHOP counter had been replaced by a large wooden sushi bar. Next to the entrance was a whiteboard with several specials — another good sign.

I ordered a sashimi combination with a Philadelphia roll. I didn’t really like the roll, I thought that the fish was warm and I did not like the very thick coating of masago (In fairness, I am not a fan of any roe). The roll had other problems. The roll had so little cream cream cheese that I had to look to see if there was any.

After this inauspicious start, I did not have high hopes for the sashimi. When it arrived, I was pleasantly surprised. Despite a prominent display of white fish covered in masago, the sashimi was very good. The combo included salmon and tuna, both of which were good. The star of the sashimi combo was the mackerel or saba. Saba is usually served heavily marinated in vinegar. While I love fresh saba, i also enjoy marinated saba if the marinade is not overpowering. At Sushi Ichiban, the saba was excellent, just enough vinegar to flavor it without completely overpowering the natural mackerel taste. The saba was served between lemon slices — absolutely wonderful.

When I find myself next in Omaha, I will make Sushi Ichiban a regular stop.

Sushi Ichiban: 3 rice bowls * * * - -
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