Good-Food Alert in North County San Diego: Blue Ocean Robata & Sushi Bar
One of the newest additions to rapidly renovating Carlsbad Village, Blue Ocean serves sushi and robata-grilled small plates in its hip and bustling restaurant located right off Carlsbad Village Drive. Almost instantly embraced by locals, Blue Ocean is packed most nights of the week and with good reason: the food, service, and variety outdo themselves. Something for everyone just scratches the tip of the wave: If you’re looking for sushi, Blue Ocean’s got it, if you’re a meat lover, you’re also covered, and if you’re a vegetarian, you’ll eat your fill, we promise.
In its an earthy, minimalist, organic space, Blue Ocean makes use of plenty of wood and metal. Tables are placed quite close together and if you’re seated at the sushi bar, you already know you’ll be elbow to elbow. A quiet, intimate experience Blue Ocean is not, but that’s part of its charm. Blue Ocean bustles, buzzes, and busts with diners hungry for fresh fish, tapas, and grilled foodstuffs.
Best described as serving “Asian fusion” cuisine, Blue Ocean’s menu boasts a traditional sushi-bar-esque vibe with its miso soup, rolls, and sashimi, but then also knocks your socks off with robata (a Japanese barbecue style) grill items like pork belly, waygu meatballs, and flat iron steak. If you’re not a meat guy or gal, the robata-grilled asparagus and mushrooms will make you ask for seconds.
The wine list is decent if not vast, and as you might expect, the beer selection includes Sapporo and Asahi, but it’s the cocktails and sake options that stand out the most. If you’re into drinks, try the Moscow Mule, seriously. You will not regret it. Blue Ocean infuses the vodka with lemongrass and adds a spicy Asian pear soda you can’t even have enough of, ever. For those abstaining, teas and sodas are also available.
The Personal Experience
We sat at a table in the far corner, close to a couple with no hope of having a private conversation. In fact, this you must embrace about Blue Ocean: it’s high volume and decidedly unquiet. Just go with it.
We ordered small plates of chicken meatballs and asparagus from the robata grill to start and both were fantastic and filling. Then, we supplemented with black cod and halibut small plates, which contained two skewers each (so naturally we ordered two plates each). We rounded things out with the Albacore Delight roll (albacore and crab with cucumber and avocado), the vegetable roll (cucumber, avocado, asparagus, beets, and asian greens), and brussels sprouts from the grill.
If we went for dessert, it would have been the candied ginger butterscotch pudding, but that’s reserved for our dreams and next time.
Number one: make a reservation. Number two: ask if the chef has any specials that evening. The halibut was the special the night we were there, and it seemed as if the chef had other culinary surprises to offer if you probed enough. In other words, the servers are willing to customize for your individual tastes. If you’re celebrating a birthday, be sure to let your server know because the sparkler-ness that happens is amazing.
Also good to know? Happy hour is from 4PM to 6PM (and again from 10PM to midnight) Sundays through Thursdays, and features 20 percent off robata items, three dollars off speciality drinks (think Moscow Mule), three-dollar drafts, and five-dollar house sake and wines.
Finally, do you know Love Boat Sushi? Blue Ocean was created by the same people.
Have you tried Blue Ocean? What did you think?
Photos from: https://www.facebook.com/BlueOceanSD