BELLINGHAM - Unpretentious purveyors of sushi and teriyaki have proliferated around town in recent years, and I admit I have not managed to visit them all.
The ones I have visited are all quite nice, although hard to tell apart. But Blue Fin Sushi-outwardly not much different from its competitors - seems to be preparing its dishes with a bit more attention to detail that pays off when the food hits your palate.
On our recent lunchtime visit, we decided to economize with the chicken teriyaki special, priced at a mere $5 for a spartan version with rice and salad, or $7.50 if you add gyoza, a.k.a. potstickers.
The teriyaki was a real standout - sweet and smoky, with a moist, tender, melt-in-your-mouth consistency instead of the harder, drier meat that you may encounter in some other places. The gyoza were also a notch or two above the usual - deep-fried, fresh and crispy.
We also sampled one dish from the sushi bar: Tempura yam rolls. For $3.50, we got eight pieces of rice rolls with crispy yam center, very fresh and tasty.
The menu includes other Japanese restaurant standbys:
-- Bento boxes (Japanese combo plates in a colorful box tray) with options that include meats, tempura, gyoza and soup for $13 to $16.
-- Chicken katsu, $7.95, a breaded chicken dish that often pleases kids suspicious of other things on a Japanese menu.
-- A variety of sushi roll and raw-fish sashimi choices, served at your table or at the sushi bar, with items available a la carte or in combo plates ranging from $13 to $28.
You might also want to try the half-avocado stuffed with spicy tuna and crab and called "monkey brain," $6.95. I'm not sure if this dish would sell more or less if it were called "stuffed avocado." But a Google search tells me that stuffed avocados are being marketed as "monkey brains" at a number of other Japanese restaurants around the country. Forgive me if I'm the last one to find out about this.
Just to make sure everyone in your party is happy, Blue Fin also offers fish and chips, $10.95, or the Chinese hearty perennial, General Tso's chicken, for $7.95 at lunch or $11 at dinner.
BLUE FIN SUSHI
--Address: 102 S. Samish Way
--Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; noon to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
--Price range: $5 to $28.
Reach JOHN STARK at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2274.