Find the marlin in Sandy
For the past few years, I’ve been following the ramblings of one of my favorite Utah chefs and restaurateurs, Batsaikhan Ariunbold, known to most folks simply as “Soy.”
After having worked at various Japanese restaurants around town, Soy opened Rice Basil in Holladay, a restaurant I have missed very much since its closing. Following that, he launched Soy’s Sushi Bar & Grill and then, most recently, he landed at Blue Marlin in Sandy, which he established with partner Burd Jadamba. Before Blue Marlin, the restaurant space was occupied by Mizumi, where both Soy and Burd once worked.
They’ve come full circle.
Unassuming from the outside, once you walk through the doors of Blue Marlin you may be surprised by the contemporary styling and bursts of color, both on the plates, in the decor, and via paintings on the walls by local artists. Most of the paintings are for sale.
Since we’re never in a rush when it comes to sushi—preferring to dine omakase-style—my wife and I took the time to peruse the Blue Marlin drinks menu, eventually settling on a bottle of Justin Sauvignon Blanc—a solid, versatile choice of white wine for sushi and sashimi. In addition to red, white, and rosé wines, the restaurant also offers sake, a handful of Mule cocktails, and a beer selection.
The food menu at Blue Marlin is extensive and impressive, with over 20 tapas-type plates to choose from, 13 sushi rolls, nigiri, sashimi, entrees, soups, salads, and desserts.
We decided to kick things off on a leisurely Sunday evening with Jalapeño Hamachi ($11), which was a generous portion of thinly-sliced yellowtail belly, spun into a spiral atop vivid jalapeño vinaigrette and garnished with edible micro red amaranth. It was a light and delicious dish to begin a meal with.
Next up was a plate of seared Hawaiian Walu ($9)—another beautiful dish. Walu, also known as escolar, is a buttery, succulent fish that is ever-so-lightly seared and served with ponzu and wedges of heirloom cherry tomatoes.
I rarely pass on the opportunity to enjoy Wagyu beef and didn’t miss out at Blue Marlin. Thin slices of marinated Wagyu are seared with a butane torch and served simply on a bed of sliced avocado, allowing the tender, juicy, scrumptious Wagyu to steal the show.
Time for Sushi
Now we were ready for some sushi and started out light with a couple of orders of nigiri. Nigiri—raw fish atop a thumb-sized mound of sushi rice—is $6 for two pieces at Blue Marlin, and includes choices like tuna, yellowtail, octopus, walu, eel, tobiko, and salmon. We opted for tuna and yellowtail and enjoyed the simplicity of high-quality sushi, unadorned but by a couple of threads of red amaranth.
Before ordering more sushi, we were treated to a complimentary serving of cold jellyfish with sesame seeds and cucumber in a martini glass. If you’ve never had jellyfish, it’s sort of an acquired pleasure. The texture—which is crunchy like cartilage—isn’t for everyone, but an interesting example of adventure dining.
And the service at Blue Marlin, It may be the best around
Throughout our meal, service could not have been friendlier or more informative, with both servers and sushi chefs answering the avalanche of questions we had about ingredients, preparations, and so on with friendly professionalism. I’ve always been impressed by the level of service at Soy’s restaurants and continue to be at Blue Marlin.
Let’s share a sashimi platter
Following our jellyfish, my wife and I decided to share a small (10-piece) sashimi platter. For those who might not know, sushi actually refers to rice in Japanese restaurants, not to raw fish. Raw fish without rice is sashimi. Our 10-piece sashimi platter actually arrived with more than 10 pieces of sashimi, featuring tuna, yellowtail, salmon, walu, fresh ginger, wasabi, and slices of cucumber.
A sushi halo of heaven
Not quite ready to say goodbye to sushi, we ordered a unique maki roll. It’s called the Halo roll ($11) and it is indeed, heavenly. Walu, crab, and cucumber are encased in sushi rice and topped with jalapeño and avocado, served with jalapeño vinaigrette sauce and crunchy tempura flakes. It’s a somewhat spicy, completely sensational roll.
To finish out the evening at Blue Marlin, we enjoyed a dessert of ice cream with macarons and fresh sliced strawberries—a dish that was as lovely to look at as it was to eat. As you can see from the photographs included here, Soy and his crew at Blue Marlin care deeply about not just serving food that is delicious, but food that is edible art.
Blue Marlin’s second location … oh, it’s coming!
Here’s some good news: folks in Salt Lake City will soon have a Blue Marlin of their own in which to dine, as Soy and Burd are opening a second Blue Marlin location downtown. Stay tuned!
Why not learn something new at Blue Marlin?
And, if you’d like to try your hand at sushi-making, Chef Soy hosts hands-on sushi-making classes on Saturdays at 2:30, where attendees will learn to make shrimp hand rolls, salmon nigiri, and a citrus roll.
Culinary quote of the week:
A good rule to remember for life is that when it comes to plastic surgery and sushi, never be attracted by a bargain. — Graham Norton
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.
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