14 June, 2010
Blu Seafood and Bar (Durham)Comments : 2 Posted in : Dining in Durham - NC on by : The Gourmez
Blu Seafood and Bar
2002 Hillsborough Road
Ninth Street District, Durham
This was not my first visit to Blu, an upscale but relaxed restaurant with plenty of blue splashes throughout the interior to remind you of their name. I found their cuisine okay that first time, a of a spot that I thought I had a review up for, but apparently, I’m imagining that I wrote one. Since I’ve imagined ordering entire menu items before, that doesn’t surprise me. I do remember thinking the food was fine on that first trip but that nothing stood out for me in particular. You see, my expectations were high because Lenore of Eclectic Glob of Tangential Verbosity has continually posted drool-worthy blogs on her innumerable dining experiences there. So that average meal I had seemed lackluster in comparison to the ones she’s shared with us online.
The solution? Try it again with Lenore! Since she’s tried nearly everything on the menu, she was able to suggest the best options with no problem. Plus, since she’s so well-known at Blu, we got to take advantage of her celebrity with two free appetizers. Score!
The first picture is of their Yellowfin Tuna Tartare with a sesame crisp, soy sauce, miso, avocado, and wakame salad. Of course, half an avocado on a plate is always going to make me happy, but so did the rest of the dish. I’m not a big fan of raw fish, but the tuna was definitely worth eating plenty of, especially in combination with the sesame crisp, which was a little more chewy than crisp but I liked that. The wakame salad was the first time I’ve had a seaweed salad that didn’t make me cringe with some sort of vinegar or other sauce too full of salt or bitterness. It’s definitely a great appetizer, especially if you are a raw fan.
The second plate was a special crab cobb salad. It was, well, a cobb salad with crab on it. I love cobb salads, and this one was good, but I don’t think cobb salads are the best way to let crab shine so I probably wouldn’t have ordered it myself. I was happy to eat it, though-cobb salads are one of the greatest culinary inventions of the past century after all. Why yes, I’m perfectly qualified to declare the last century’s greatest culinary inventions.
Lenore had the lump crab salad with mango, avocado, and citrus vinaigrette for her meal, and it did look quite delicious with a great presentation. I didn’t try it, but don’t you just want to dig into that round of crab?
I didn’t try Mr. Gourmez’s dishes either. He ordered two appetizers, salt and pepper calamari with chile dipping sauce and crab macaroni and cheese with truffle cream and prosciutto.
He was happy with them, and Lenore highly recommends the mac and cheese, claiming it to be very rich and delicious. I’ve found lately that I don’t enjoy gourmet mac and cheeses any more than the boxed stuff, so I’m staying away from ordering them for now-until I forget about that proclamation. I’m sure that won’t take long (see beginning of this blog re: forgetting I didn’t write a review of Blu before).
My entree, once again highly recommended by Lenore, was really, really good.
Diver scallops with arugula, country ham, grapefruit, shallots, and a sherry vinaigrette. My only complaint would be an overdose of that vinaigrette, but its flavors were nice and light, which is essential for a pairing with grapefruit and the oh-so-delicate, luscious, perfectly seared scallops. When scallops are cooked just right, I revel in every bite, and this was definitely a reveling plate of them. The seared crust made them especially tasty.
Lenore and I both had dessert. My bite of her maple crème brulee was great.
The maple flavor was lighter than I expected, which I think was a good thing-it’s hard to tell with a mouthful of rich custard if I wanted more maple or not. My dessert was a bourbon, chocolate, and cream cheesecake.
It was delightful in many ways, one being that it wasn’t a thick cheesecake, but a creamy one with almost the texture of pudding. I love being surprised by my meals. The chocolate quotient could have been kicked up a notch but the bourbon was perfect as a fore- and aftertaste in every bite. The omnipresence of bourbon in the South is not a bad thing at all, I’ve discovered in my time here thus far. The raspberry and whipped cream were extraneous, really, but they did make for a nicer presentation.
Blu also has a nice cocktail list, which makes me happy as I’m sure you know by now. I had two drinks, the Southern Tea and the Eastern Shore, and I’ll review them separately, but I found them good overall.
Thanks, Lenore, for showing me the ropes at Blu and helping me find my way to a better meal there. My opinion of their offerings has definitely improved, and honestly, any scallop lover needs to try that dish. Moral of the story: If you want the best experience you can get at a restaurant, grab a regular!