Layton, Utah isn’t exactly renowned for its dining scene. For every 20 chain eateries, there’s one good independently owned restaurant worthy of your dining dollars, such as Weller’s Bistro, Roosters, Sill’s Cafe, Osaka, Taste of India, Kim Long, Blanquita’s, Royal Jade, Big Sai’s, and a handful of others. Well, now you can add to that short list a relative newcomer to the Davis County restaurant universe: Blue Fin Sushi. Blue Fin Sushi had a soft opening in the fall and, although they are already open to the public, I was told that they’re planning to have an official Grand Opening soon.
Blue Fin Sushi opened in Layton in September 2021 in the space that was the previous home of Ichiban Sushi & Cajun Seafood. Apparently, the intersection of sushi and Cajun cuisines wasn’t something the dining public was clambering for. The new owners have reengineered the space somewhat, turning it into an eye-popping eatery that is lively and vivid – an absolutely gorgeous restaurant with no expense spared on the decor. The lighting is particularly creative and attractive.
But it’s one thing to create a great-looking restaurant. It’s another to create a great-looking restaurant in which the food lives up to the visual promise of such an inviting space as Blue Fin Sushi. Do they succeed? Read on.
We were greeted and seated at Blue Fin Sushi by a terrific server named Daniel, with whom we’d crossed paths in the past – most recently at Nikko Sushi & Ramen in Kaysville. Blue Fin is lucky to have him on board. There are plenty of seating options, by the way: booths, sushi bar, tables, private dining rooms and more. We chose to dine at the sushi bar where we could chat with friendly Blue Fin sushi chefs like Jinny. All of the chefs working were women on the night we visited. That’s good progress given that it wasn’t very long ago that the sushi chef profession was almost entirely male-dominated.
Looking over the appetizers we were tempted by the Sushi Tacos ($8), Mussel Shooters ($7), and something called Gohan Boto ($7), which is deep-fried rice with a choice of spicy tuna or spicy salmon with avocado and snow crab on top. We eventually settled on ordering Bakudan ($12). This was a delicious starter of two Asian “meatballs” of sorts. Instead of meat, however, these were balls of minced avocado with soft shell crab, spicy tuna, kanikama (surimi “crab” usually made from whitefish), spicy mayo, eel sauce and sriracha, served with light and crisp fried wonton-style chips. It’s an appetizer I would order again and again.
My wife and I love nigiri, so next up was an order of three different nigiri: hamachi/yellowtail tuna ($9), maguro/bluefin tuna ($11) and otoro/fatty bluefin tuna ($14). The nigiri was excellently prepared and the otoro, especially, was melt-in-the-mouth marvelous. I really appreciate that, like the best sushi restaurants, Blue Fin Sushi for the most part lets its fish do the talking. Nigiri and most of the sushi rolls aren’t smothered in sauces, allowing sushi lovers to really enjoy the flavor of the high-quality fish they are eating. I was told that fresh fish for sushi is delivered to the restaurant kitchen twice a week from Japan; the fish we enjoyed was fantastically fresh tasting.
Our server, Daniel, recommended a sushi roll that was a special the evening we visited, called an Ocean Roll. I’m glad he did. It was a wonderful maki-style roll cut into four large pieces: otoro tuna, maguro tuna, and spicy crab with masago on top, garnished with sriracha and wasabi mayo. Sushi chef Jinny told us that the Ocean roll is usually made with snow crab, but since they were temporarily out of snow crab they made ours with spicy crab, which was delish. Thanks also to Daniel for providing my wife with gluten-free soy sauce to enjoy alongside.
Don’t even think about dining at Blue Fin Sushi without indulging in their signature Blue Fin Roll ($19). I had seen photos of this thing online and thought that if this sushi roll is even half as yummy as it looks, it’s going to be stupendous. I wasn’t wrong. It’s a chef’s choice of fresh bluefin tuna – in our case otoro with avocado – more tuna on top, as well as masago, all served on a bed of shredded fluorescent blue daikon, with fresh wasabi and ginger on the side. It’s one of the tastiest sushi rolls I’ve ever encountered.
We were getting full, but enjoying the sushi at Blue Fin so much that we just had to try one more thing … We opted for a light serving of nigiri: ama ebi or sweet coldwater shrimp ($11). Again, less is more at Blue Fin Sushi. The tender, sweet tasting shrimp came unadorned, on perfectly cooked rice and was excellent. A super-friendly server named Noriko advised us to dig the cooked meat out of the fried shrimp heads which were included. My wife liked the shrimp head meat even better than the shrimp nigiri.
Although I was tempted by the banana tempura dessert ($7), I had already eaten too much and so I requested our bill. Nevertheless, the nice folks at Blue Fin Sushi wouldn’t allow us to leave without trying a complimentary dish of mochi ice cream ($6). The flavors were chocolate and strawberry and the mochi ice cream was so light and airy that it was the perfect ending to a perfect sushi dinner.
There is one thing that could be improved upon: The restaurant’s website. There’s only a small portion of the menu items listed there and no mention of beer, sake and wine, which they serve. More importantly, Blue Fin Sushi offers some unique dining experiences not listed, such as an omakase option for $70 per person. We were told that to dine omakase, guests need to phone the manager, Tyler, at least a couple days in advance to create a menu. He’ll even order fish you request to customize your omakase dining experience. There are also chef’s specials not listed on the Blue Fin website such as the Blue Fin Meal ($45), a Sushi Boat with rolls, nigiri and sashimi for 2 ($90), and a Large Sushi Boat for 4 to 6 people for $250.
My wife and I are extremely picky about sushi and we normally only frequent a handful of sushi restaurants, such as Takashi, Kobe, Yuki Yama, Shabu, Sapa, Sushi Blue, Kyoto, Shoyu and Mint. We religiously avoid the mediocre half-price and all-you-can-eat inferior sushi joints that are so ubiquitous these days. Well, I am thrilled to add Blue Fin Sushi to that short list of top-notch restaurants; it’s not just the best sushi in Davis County, but one of the best sushi stops in Utah.
Photos by Ted Scheffler
Culinary quote of the week:
“Don’t dunk your nigiri in the soy sauce. Don’t mix your wasabi in the soy sauce. If the rice is good, compliment your sushi chef on the rice.” — Anthony Bourdain
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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.