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Izakaya Blue Ocean (Formerly Blue Ocean) - Japanese-Owned Japanese in Fairfax with a Sushi Chef and a Kitchen Chef


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Over by China Star is Blue Ocean. It's a rarity in the nova burbs. A Japanese restuarant run by Japanese. The result is really fresh sushi, really amazing "little plates" (most of which are on a secret japanese only menu that get carried around the restuarant and put in front of the table for those that can speak it) Real Ramen and a whole bunch of dishes I haven't seen anywhere in the area like kama meshi.

I've had decent luck with getting the english name off of here http://www.blueocean-sushi.com/ala/ala_eng...ategory=seafood and asking for it. Sometmes they have it and know what I'm talking about and sometimes I get odd looks. It's worth a try though when you get things like kakuni which is the best pork roast I think I've ever had.

It's right between the Trader Joes and the Chuck E Cheeses for those familiar with the area, right off of 236 on your way into fairfax city proper coming from the beltway.

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Over by China Star is Blue Ocean. It's a rarity in the nova burbs. A Japanese restuarant run by Japanese. The result is really fresh sushi, really amazing "little plates" (most of which are on a secret japanese only menu that get carried around the restuarant and put in front of the table for those that can speak it) Real Ramen and a whole bunch of dishes I haven't seen anywhere in the area like kama meshi.

I've had decent luck with getting the english name off of here http://www.blueocean-sushi.com/ala/ala_eng...ategory=seafood and asking for it. Sometmes they have it and know what I'm talking about and sometimes I get odd looks.  It's worth a try though when you get things like kakuni which is the best pork roast I think I've ever had.

It's right between the Trader Joes and the Chuck E Cheeses for those familiar with the area, right off of 236 on your way into fairfax city proper coming from the beltway.

I can vouch for the awesome brilliant sushi there - I used to go with JET graduates ALL THE TIME some time ago when skate-n-sushi was our standard courtship protocol. Of course, then Fairfax Ice Arena must needs to rework its schedule, so it no longer worked. But the food was amazing.

It does help to be conversant, so we let the dudes do the work.

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A Japanese restaurant run by Japanese.

The website is now http://www.izakayablueocean.com/ Unfortunately, there is no translation of the Japanese menu, so bring along a translator or be prepared to point at dishes on other table (?). FWIW, ankimo and kakuni are listed in the English-language menu under appetizers. The piece of fish on the sushi is (nontraditionally) enormous.

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We went last Wednesday for the first time. We only went for sushi but I would like to try some of the entrees after seeing them pass by our table. As a mayonaise hater, I asked if their spicy tuna contained any. It normally does but they offered to make it with the chili and some sesame seed oil which gave it a nice smokey taste. Its definitely worth a try if your in the area. Casusal and moderately priced. Probably going to become a regular haunt for me so I don't walk in to Trader's Joe (next door) on an empty stomach.

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I've been a few times and the rather tame sushi that we tend to order has been consistently and beautifully fresh and appealing. Once we have our order in, however, I'm usually making little matchstick girl eyes at the other tables with what must be the Japanese specials, because they don't resemble anything on the regular menu. I need to remember to ask about the specials beforehand!!!!! If anybody in the know happens to go, could you post what specials you've had? It would be helpful to have an idea of what's on the sometimes menu...

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I've been a few times and the rather tame sushi that we tend to order has been consistently and beautifully fresh and appealing. Once we have our order in, however, I'm usually making little matchstick girl eyes at the other tables with what must be the Japanese specials, because they don't resemble anything on the regular menu. I need to remember to ask about the specials beforehand!!!!! If anybody in the know happens to go, could you post what specials you've had? It would be helpful to have an idea of what's on the sometimes menu...

takoyaki is pretty constant and good. oden (sp) is seasonal and very good, root vegetable stew. I tend to get one of the set meals usually kakuni or tonkatsu sets which come with rice and 3-4 small side dishes of various things most of which I have no clue what i'm eating but enjoy nonetheless. The staff are all very nice and will make recommendations based on how busy they are and what you tell them your taste is.

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Our first visit was lunch today. We each ordered a Bento box--mine was salmon teriyaki and his was beef teriyaki. It included miso soup, which was very good and a salad bar, which we did not investigate (next time). I thought the rolls and tempura that were included were well-prepared, and the teriyaki was very tasty. All in all, we had a filling, delicious lunch for around $20 plus tip. I look forward to more trips in the near future. I like that it is about 5 minutes from home!

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My wife and I went here last Saturday. Excellent, fresh sushi. I tried to order off of the "secret" Japanese menu, but the waitress looked at me like she had no idea what I was talking about (though the TV kept showing pictures of the small dishes). I'd love to try some of those dishes, though, so if anyone has any clue how to order them, I'd appreciate it.

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Limited reviews over the past couple of years...? We went for dinner last night and sat at the bar. This place reminds me of Tachibana, in that it's a little bit cramped and a little bit worn, but very genuine and loaded with Japanese patrons. I also like Mikaku Sushi Taro in McLearan Square near Herndon, so for Japanese food and sushi in northern Virginia, that's a pretty good rotation of three restaurants.

I ordered the yellowtail collar as an appetizer, and the waitress checked with the kitchen, returning to tell me there was one left. I told her to bring it, and then I ordered a lot of sushi for two of us. I expected the yellowtail first, but all of the sushi came first and was completely consumed before the yellowtail arrived. That turned out to be a good thing after all, because the collar was perfectly grilled with teriyaki sauce, and it was as sweet and delicate as any fish dish I ever tasted. What a delicious dessert.

The sushi was extraordinarily good. Tuna and salmon were so perfect they melted on the tongue. The mackerel was a treat, with precision scores carved in the shiny skin. Eel was among the best I've had, as was the white tuna. For rolls, we tried the crunchy roll and the Ocean roll, both of which were hits. The Ocean roll had lobster salad on the inside, and the crunchy roll seemed to be assisted by bonito shavings for its crunch.

We did not approach the Japanese menu, because we came for the sushi....but a few dishes caught our eye on the way out of the kitchen, so maybe we need to figure out how to break that code at some point in the future. For now, the sushi alone will keep me coming back, and as I said, this place ranks with Tachibana as tone of the best in northern Virginia.

A few interesting notes -- the sound system was playing Boz Scaggs when we walked in, and we just saw Boz Scaggs at the Birchmere a few weeks ago. For some reason, he has a really big following in Japan. Also, there are three pictures behind the sushi bar of a lefthanded Japanese pitcher with the Seibu Lions. I asked the waitress who he was, and she indicated he's one of the sushi chefs there. I mentioned that he's a "lefty" and she said "No, on Wednesday." Yes, there are a few language barrier issues in Blue Ocean.

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I eat here fairly regularly, and recently brought a genu-ine Japanese person to ask for us, and we still couldn't get anything off the secret menu! She isn't very aggressive, though, and we were able to get lots of nice things off the regular menu. Maybe next time we need a Japanese food-loving alpha male.

they've translated a lot of it. the last page of the menu has a lot of things and there's now an entire separate menu for the set dinners that has been translated as well, you just have to ask for it.

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they've translated a lot of it. the last page of the menu has a lot of things and there's now an entire separate menu for the set dinners that has been translated as well, you just have to ask for it.

Ah, we ate a lot of things off the last page (which I thought was new!), so maybe that's why they were confused (this time) when we asked for the other menu. I don't remember specifics other than some interesting, small, izikaya-style snackies, with mushrooms and crunchy stuff. Will have to try again soon!

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I had the pork bone ramen the other night. It's very simply dressed (slice of pork, some slivers of pink ginger and a handful of scallions) and quite salty, but is extremely porky and delicious. A little expensive ($11or $12) for a generous bowl (slightly smaller than a small pho bowl), but it came with the small salad and there is no other ramen to be had in these parts. A great option for winter nights when you want to warm while your partner eats sushi!

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I had the pork bone ramen the other night. It's very simply dressed (slice of pork, some slivers of pink ginger and a handful of scallions) and quite salty, but is extremely porky and delicious. A little expensive ($11or $12) for a generous bowl (slightly smaller than a small pho bowl), but it came with the small salad and there is no other ramen to be had in these parts. A great option for winter nights when you want to warm while your partner eats sushi!

I went to Blue Ocean for lunch today. I've had the ramen lunch special before and it was a pretty small bowl. So I ordered off the dinner menu, but it was an equally small bowl at a higher price - I don't get it. It had only one thin slice of pork. The soup was indeed on the saltier end of the scale. However, the saba (mackerel) was quite tasty, as were the vegetable tempura.

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I went to Blue Ocean for lunch today. I've had the ramen lunch special before and it was a pretty small bowl. So I ordered off the dinner menu, but it was an equally small bowl at a higher price - I don't get it. It had only one thin slice of pork. The soup was indeed on the saltier end of the scale. However, the saba (mackerel) was quite tasty, as were the vegetable tempura.

Yep, the veg tempura is reliably light and crunchy. I liked the ramen, even at that price, mostly because there are no alternatives that I know of in the area and I don't really like udon soups. Know of any options besides just ditching for pho?

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Yep, the veg tempura is reliably light and crunchy. I liked the ramen, even at that price, mostly because there are no alternatives that I know of in the area and I don't really like udon soups. Know of any options besides just ditching for pho?

Well, if you did want Pho, Pho Capital is fairly new, and just a few doors down, but for Japanese in that semi-vicinity? Not much. Kawata, maybe?

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My other options were Chinese noodle soup which you can get at A&J, Jasmine Garden, and China Star and Korean noodle soup in Annandale, besides pho. I think Blue Ocean's ramen is just okay.

All those are great, but you really have to leave Fairfax if you want to be warmed by soup while your dining companion eats sushi unless you get the ramen. So for that purpose I think it works. This is probably why we don't go out for sushi near home too often. Has anyone eaten at Kawata? I've never actually seen anyone in the lot.

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All those are great, but you really have to leave Fairfax if you want to be warmed by soup while your dining companion eats sushi unless you get the ramen. So for that purpose I think it works. This is probably why we don't go out for sushi near home too often. Has anyone eaten at Kawata? I've never actually seen anyone in the lot.

If you're heading down that way (towards Kawata), it's really not that much further to keep going, then take a right on 123 and head to Oakton and Vienna. I'm not a fan of any of the Japanese restaurants on that strip (and there are several), but they may do in a pinch.

I wasn't going to post about this, but as long as we're on the topic, I had a pretty crummy dinner at Blue Ocean about a month ago. The only details I remember right now are that they were out of the yellowtail jaw, the beef teriyaki was okay, the tempura was unremarkable, the sushi was sub-mediocre, the service wasn't much better, I texted Kaz from the parking lot carping about the meal ("Why are you telling me this?" he replied), and I downgraded it in the Dining Guide several notches. I'd been there a couple times in the past and had it in Italic, but not after this.

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Hit Blue Ocean with a party of 7 last night. It was OK, not great, but probably because I am somewhat intimidated by the menu and don't fully understand Japanese cusine enough to get to the goodies. Although the group we were with represented a younger demographic -- Lady Kibbee's two 20-something kids and their 20-something friends -- they were adventurous enough to try anything I ordered. I just wish I ordered better.

We had yellowtail jaw all around -- four appetizer portions to share. It was typically quite good, teryaki style. Of course, I thought it would come out prior to all the sushi we ordered, but it came out right after all the sushi we ordered. Who knew?

All of the sushi we ordered was about as good as we expected. Nothing blew us away. Lady Kibbee and I split a sushi and sashimi sampler, and a few others around the table had the sushi deluxe or individual rolls. Nothing stood out, but nothing was bad.

Sometime, I would love to try this place with a real Japanese foodie in tow, so I can actually graze among the lesser identifiable items on either the American menu or the Japanese menu. I would love to see what this kitchen can do if we ordered from their sweet spot.

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It is still open at National Airport (DCA), right next to Ben's Chili Bowl.

My husband is flying to Denver today from National, and we went early so that we could have lunch before his flight (we needn't have rushed--his flight is delayed at least an hour). Decided on Matsutake, largely because sushi is a safe bet for me if I take my own gluten-free tamari sauce. We encountered a bit of sticker shock, as they charge dinner prices all day, so the sashimi and sushi combos were 50-70% higher than lunch at, say, Blue Ocean, would have been.

Has anyone had a full meal at Blue Ocean recently? The last time I went was about a year ago, and it was flat-out *horrible*, and I mean I used to have this restaurant ranked in Italic, but it was so bad this time that it was shocking (and this is after one pretty bad meal a couple of years before that).

Off nights or general decline? This place used to be pretty good - I even went with Koji Terano once, who knew both chefs, and we had a perfectly lovely dinner.

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Blue Ocean is minutes away from my house, and I've eaten there many times. Typically, I will order nigiri or sashimi, but other family members have ordered ramen and a couple of other dishes. I do not consider myself to be a sushi expert, but I know enough to be able to tell when fish is fresh and well-prepared, and Blue Ocean's fish is typically quite good.  (Make sure to ask if they have chutoro or otoro) They also get bonus points for being one of the very few Japanese-owned sushi restaurants in the area.

I fully understand your "horrible" comment. About a year ago, the restaurant was extremely dusty and obviously needed a good cleaning. The food was not great, so I took it off of my list for a few months. After I ended my self-imposed boycott, I was pleased to see a much cleaner dining area and much better food.

In short, I'd give it another go. The sushi chefs are fairly personable once you get to know them a bit, as are the servers. That's not to say the service is anything more than average, though, and the standard salad is downright bad, redeemed only by an above average miso soup.

Off topic, but if you're in the area, check out Pho Duong a couple of doors down. Excellent Vietnamese food. (Try the pork and clams with rice claypot and the pho.)

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It's been 6 months since my last post about Blue Ocean, but I still venture there every week or two to get my sushi fix. Since my wife is not a huge fan of sushi, I'll dine there solo if she works in the evening. As a result, I'll sit at the sushi bar, and if circumstances permit, I'll chat with the sushi chefs. While they don't offer omakase as a menu option, I've learned they will gladly offer a few of their choice offerings to me now and again when I order the "Chef's Special". By the way, it's a bargain--$25.95 for 10 pieces of nigiri, a hand roll, and another basic sushi roll, miso soup, and salad. (The soup is quite good, but the salad is uninspiring)

I'd previously learned one of the chefs (Nigita) played baseball professionally in Japan, so we talk about the Nationals now and again. From previous conversations, I knew Nigita is friends with Chef Seki, and that they grew up in the same prefecture. Tonight, I learned they met in St Louis several years ago when Nigita was a baseball reporter covering a Japanese player who was with the Cardinals. (As some may know, Seki had a restaurant in St Louis for many years). Nigita also told me he worked for 5 years at Sushi Taro, and that the owner was also from the same prefecture. Very small world.

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16 hours ago, reedm said:

I'd previously learned one of the chefs (Nigita) played baseball professionally in Japan, so we talk about the Nationals now and again. From previous conversations, I knew Nigita is friends with Chef Seki, and that they grew up in the same prefecture. Tonight, I learned they met in St Louis several years ago when Nigita was a baseball reporter covering a Japanese player who was with the Cardinals. (As some may know, Seki had a restaurant in St Louis for many years). Nigita also told me he worked for 5 years at Sushi Taro, and that the owner was also from the same prefecture. Very small world.

Left-handed pitcher, if I recall, right? There is a picture on the wall behind the sushi bar, with him uniform.

Baseball is huge in Japan. Iron Chef (although I hate that moniker) Morimoto was also a baseball player growing up in Japan. It was his first love, and his ability to go only so far led him to being a chef.

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1 hour ago, NolaCaine said:

Had a great sushi snack today avoiding the cheese. Tuna salmon and warm eel roll all good to great. Salmon perfect. Eel warm and fatty, tuna good. Forgive brevity but my thumbs typed this one.

I just drove by here yesterday (took my youhg dining companion to lunch at Artie's).

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2 hours ago, reedm said:

What's going on now?

I am guessing it changed owners. I have not been in a year (or maybe two?) and the gentleman who was always behind the counter, and another who was almost always behind counter, were not there. The staff is all wearing t-shirts with a graphic blue ocean logo, also new. The dining room is quite literally plastered with copy paper color pictures and advertisements of dishes, and specials, and sake, and just an ocular onslaught of detritus. It strongly resembled Carrie's dining room wall in season two of "Homeland". Seriously.

We ordered Octopus sushi, Horse Mackerel sushi, Fatty Tuna and Scallion roll, crunchy Yellowtail roll, Pickled Radish roll, ETA roll (eel/avocado/tobiko) and appetizer size veg tempura. The sushi was served on a little white square plate, and all the rolls were served on round, white salad plates. Never seen presentation like this at a sushi bar...it was very plain and odd. The fish itself tasted of nothing. Too cold. Zero flavor. The rice was average. If I were blindfolded, I would only be able to make out the crunch and tobiko. We never received our tempura.

The two staff members who took care of us were very pleasant, attentive, and kind. They apologized for the forgotten tempura and offered to quickly make it, which we declined. I used to love this place, and I wish them only success moving forward, but my meal last evening was not good.

 

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