The Blues and Blue Sake
Several of my divorced or divorcing friends report a dramatic drop in their respective moods come Sunday afternoons. Sundays is normally child-transfer day –– if it’s “your” week with the kids, you end up meeting your ex somewhere so that he or she can take over for the next week. Even when everyone is civil, late Sunday afternoon can feel pretty darn blue.
So I’ve wondered why more local bars don’t try to capitalize on this situation. After all, there are a bunch of childless adults with money to spend and sorrows to drown. Enter: Blue Sushi Sake Grill, a four-restaurant Omaha-based chain with a relatively new location across from Eddie V’s Prime Seafood in the Cultural District. Blue caught my eye when I noticed that happy hour ran all day Sunday, from the time the doors open at noon until they close at 10 p.m.
It was the coldest, blusteriest day in early May when I floated in, ahead of my friend who was doing kid-drop-off duty. Being cold and wet in a bar is no fun, and I couldn’t even think about my standby iced beverages, although a house margarita is $3 during happy hour at Blue. A large, hot Gekkeikan sake runs $4 all day Sunday, but I don’t know that much about sake. I know it’s brewed like beer but fermented like wine. What the heck? I said and ordered one. It came in a cute little white ceramic vase-looking thing, which did a fairly good job of keeping the drink warm. Oddly (to me, at least), the server presented me with a shot glass (not a little cup); the liquid cooled down substantially in the glass. Stronger than wine and more heat-generating than vodka or tequila, the stuff didn’t have that much taste to it. But after consuming half a vase-full, I noticed I didn’t care so much about the floodwater-soaked hems of my pants. After the second glass, I found that, magically, I could converse fluently in Japanese. (Not really, as I later discovered.)
The restaurant’s signature martinis are all $6 during happy hour. Normally, I’d mock a place with a “signature” martini. But during happy hour Sunday, my girlfriend’s Dirty Blue was almost half-price. And scrumptious. She got vodka (her call; I forget what label she asked for), made as salty as the sea by shreds of lemon zest and giant blue cheese-stuffed olives. My friend took a sip and did a double take. Her face melted into a look of paroxysmal joy –– the look that we women reserve for a spectacular pair of shoes or a spectacularly cute, heterosexual guy who loves children and puppies.
I was less impressed with my Malibu Mango martini, ordered after the sake had heated me up. The Cruzan mango rum, pineapple-infused vodka, and fresh OJ were tasty, but the drink was not as fantastic as its dirty cousin.
On Sundays, drafts run $3 a pop, and glasses of house wine are $4. Along with the booze, Blue offers some nice deals on appetizers. The tasty spicy edamame was $3.50, discounted by roughly 40 percent. The deliciously messy chicken lettuce wraps were $9 –– a dollar off the regular price –– while the tuna sashimi, so fresh it almost called me baby and pinched me, was $8. And worth every penny.
Sitting close to the DJ station near the reception desk meant that our conversational volume had to be ramped up a bit. However, in the back of the bar, the house music was a little less noticeable. Blue Sushi’s web site says that Sundays feature “Deep Soulful House with DJ Preacher.” Again, I’m tempted to mock, but the moody music, combined with the blue neon and the blustery day, turned out to be a killer combination. Mood-lifting and blues-drowning, Blue Sushi on a Sunday might be the next best thing to happily ever after. –– Laurie Barker James
Blue Sushi Sake Grill
3131 W 7th St, FW.
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