Sashimi, much like white wines, gazpacho, and revenge, is best served cold. Chomp into chilled deliciousness with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of sushi and other Japanese cuisine at Blue Ocean.
Along with standards such as vegetable tempura ($8), udon noodles ($11), and bento boxes ($18–19), Blue Ocean's menu offers sticky-rice sticklers a sizable selection of inventive rolls and creative twists on old favorites. The Tuna Flight roll let diners try three different styles of their finned friend ($13), and the Dragon Fire roll combines soft-shell crab, asparagus, and eel inside a tubular tuna fillet, and is accompanied by a shot of Bacardi 151 rum a flambé ($12). Amateur fire-eaters might require one of Blue Ocean's aloe martinis ($10) or lychee mimosas ($8) to soothe the dragon's fiery fury. Fish-phobics and vegetarians can munch on the Midori maki, thinly sliced avocado rolled around sweet potato and asparagus tempuras, then wrapped in soybean paper and topped with edible flowers to cover up inevitable sushi breath ($12).
The restaurant's atmosphere is lush and elegant, with bold red walls, simple bamboo centerpieces, and decorative chartreuse murals that come to life at night and wish for opposable thumbs to twiddle. Distinctive lighting fixtures that resemble bioluminescent dandelions hang from the ceiling in order to caution diners about the hazards of crossbreeding flowers with glow sticks. Free parking is available.
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Blue Ocean's chefs craft an expansive menu of contemporary Japanese fare, pairing plates of savory gyoza with specialty maki trimmed with elegant ornamentation. Behind the sushi bar, chefs slice "as-fresh-as-it-gets" yellowtail and salmon sashimi, according to Gayot, which ranked Blue Ocean as one of Chicago's top 10 sushi restaurants. Chefs also prep and dice rolls, blending conventional victuals with inventive fixings such as mozzarella cheese, pico de gallo, or an entire wild-caught piñata. The interior contrasts muted, contemporary furnishings with vivid murals of neon coral and lighting fixtures evocative of the luminescent sea urchins that brighten the streets of metropolitan Atlantis.