Sherman's Food Adventures: Bluefin


I'm not sure what possessed me to book a 6:30am flight leaving San Diego. I suppose on one hand it was the great package deal and on the other, I am a masochist of some sort. Think of it. Not only did I have to wake up at an unholy hour of 3:30am; but we had to wake up the kids too. 2 cranky kids in the early morning, dragging our sorry asses to the airport. To think of it, I'd much rather have a case of jock itch with my hands tied behind my back. At the very least, I wouldn't need to carry 4 pieces of luggage all by myself. So we did it. We made it to Sea-Tac in relatively once piece (with my daughter the only one being grouchy). Grabbed the car from Park 'n Fly and headed off in search of eats. Hey, what did you think we were going to do? Drive home right away??? At this point, we were in no mood for anything related to breakfast, brunch or American food. Been there, done that many times over in San Diego. What we needed was Asian cuisine pronto. Wait. We were in Seattle. Um... That is not as easy as in Vancouver. Sure, there is good stuff to be found, there just isn't a lot of it. So we settled on mediocre Asian food and a buffet at that. See what I said about being a masochist?

Back in early July, we had been in Seattle for an impromptu shopping trip and while at Northgate, I spotted this sushi buffet joint. It looked very busy and it piqued my interest. Now for the disclaimer: I realize that a buffet is never a great way to experience sushi or many other types of food for all-that-matters. However, we were hungry and this was convenient. While we were waiting in line to be seated, I graciously informed the host that there was a party in front of us and they should be seated first. I know the group behind us saw this; but decided to not say anything when they were seated before us! And we weren't in Richmond either! Some people... I'll just let karma do its work. Anyways, once we were seated, I took a look at what was available and there was an impressive array of Nigiri and Maki Sushi. For the nigiri, there was a selection which included Ika, Wakame, Mackerel, Salmon, Tuna, Tai, Ebi, Tamago, Tako, Inari and Avocado with Tobiko. Now, I wouldn't classify the nigiri as good sushi, rather it was your typical serve-yourself-buffet nigiri. I found the rice to be rather dry while the fish was acceptable for what it was. 

As for the maki sushi, there were the usual variety with some more deluxe rolls as well. The standard stuff included California Roll, Bacon & Asparagus Roll, Cucumber Roll, Futomaki and Spicy Tuna. The really interesting stuff was their specialty rolls which consisted of Caterpillar (California roll with avocado and sauce), Vegetable (pink soy wrap, carrot oshinko, pickle & spinach) Seared Ebi (California Roll with ebi on top), Philly (cream cheese, tuna with avocado on top), Tempura Shrimp (California roll with shrimp, unagi sauce & tobiko), Seared Salmon (California roll with seared salmon and sauce), Unagi Creamy Roll (Unagi, tamago with unagi and sauce on top) and Mixed Tempura (basically various rolls coated with tempura batter and fried). I wouldn't say any of the rolls were that great while they weren't awful either. Best description would be a wide range of interesting mediocre sushi.

One item that I went back for seconds was the Marinated Jellyfish which sat right next to the Spicy Noodle Salad and Cold Soba. The 2 noodles were not too bad while the jellyfish had the right texture and was a bit spicy. Moving along to the Chinese food station, there was Seafood Fried Rice which was bland, Soy Fried Chow Mein which was dry, Shanghai Bak Choy, Peking Pork Chops which were tender with a good balance of sweet and tart, Steamed Fish which was moist and seasoned properly, Kung Pao Chicken which was mild yet moist, Fried Squid which was chewy, Orange Chicken which was also tender but needed more tartness, Braised Brisket and Tendon which were tender yet underseasoned, Fried Cod which was dry, Honey Garlic Ribs, Ma Po Tofu which was bland, Fried Shrimp and Fried Chicken Wings.

At the Korean food station, we found some Japanese items mixed in as well including Tempura where the batter was too thick and the sauce was too sweet, Chicken Katsu which was juicy and crispy on the outside, too bad the sauce tasted like Kraft BBQ, Teriyaki Chicken which was okay but a tad dry, Korean Pancake which was also alright but a bit eggy, Sukiyaki which had good flavour, Gyoza which were decent, Spicy Beef Soup which was indeed spicy and quite flavourful and various Banchan (seaweed, sprouts, radish and kimchi). For some reason, I neglected to take a picture of the various salads (maybe it was on purpose...). These included Tomato, Jicama, Cucumber & Seaweed, Honey Walnut & Arugula, Cold Tofu and the best one - Gomae Green Beans. It was a simple salad consisting of crunchy green beans tossed in a black sesame dressing. Another station that I did not take a picture of was the "Build-Your-Own-Udon" bar. There was various ingredients one could add to a made-to-order udon. I skipped this because eating a whole bowl of udon would defeat the purpose of a buffet.

Lastly, there was whole island dedicated to Desserts and a counter behind it with fresh fruit and soft-serve ice cream. The desserts consisted of Chocolate Cake, Cheesecake, Mango Mousse Cake, Coffee Cake, Cream Puffs, Matcha Mousse Cake, Blueberry Cake and Chocolate Brownie. None were really all that memorable and merely existed to fill the sweets void. In fact, the meal was pretty average at best. However, if we consider the huge spread of diverse food, Bluefin does have its clientele. I wouldn't put it high on my list, yet it did the job for me in this particular case.

The Good:
- Variety
- Reasonably-priced (very fair on the kid pricing based on height)
- Buffet stations are well-designed and roomy

The Bad:
- As expected, most of the food is mediocre


KimHo said...

Similar to you, in the past, I would easily bash the AYCE places we have in Metro Vancouver and even the ones in Seattle... But, then, after travelling, I have found that even the ones we consider mediocre (*cough*Robson Sushi*cough*Fish on Rice*cough*), they are "good" compared to the ones I have found in places like Miami, New Jersey and so on. I guess it is a matter of availability and perception. Count our blessings?

Sherman Chan said...

@KimHo You have a good point, I guess our standards could be too high.

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