Ready to roll

Austin's wave of new Midwestern restaurants rolls on with sustainable sushi spot

Austin's wave of new Midwestern restaurants rolls on with sushi spot

Blue Sushi Sake Grill
Blue Sushi Sake Grill is the latest Midwestern concept to find a home in Austin. Photo courtesy of Blue Sushi

One was a curious footnote and two was a trend. Now, with the announcement that Omaha, Nebraska-based Flagship Restaurant Group is opening yet another new restaurant in the Capital City, it looks like Austin has a full-on Midwestern invasion on its hands.

In an October 29 release, Flagship revealed that it is opening the first Austin outpost of Blue Sushi Sake Grill at 11410 Century Oaks Terrace in spring 2020. The popular concept will join the previously announced Plank Seafood Provisions in the Domain.

True to its name, Blue Sushi specializes in maki, nigiri, and sashimi. In addition to offering a variety of traditional seafood cuts, it also serves original rolls like Snow White with crispy sea bass, avocado, burdock root, and Bibb lettuce and the spicy Rodeo with seared beef tenderloin, shrimp tempura, radish sprouts, sriracha-fried onion rings, and a Fresno pepper aioli.

Unlike many sushi chains, however, it is fully transparent about its sustainability practices. To allow customers to make informed decisions, the menu lists the origin and fishing methods for its seafood and offers many choices that are certified to have minimal effect on the ocean’s ecosystem.

Following that green theme, Blue also has a full menu of vegan rolls, such as the Green Goddess with spicy plant-based tuna, cucumber, cilantro, shallot, vegan fish roe, and ponzu sauce and Umami Maki with eggplant eel, non-dairy cream cheese, and sweet soy.

Blue Sushi will be Flagship’s third Austin restaurant. The group first debuted locally with Tex-Asian eatery Anthem in September 2018. Based on the success of that restaurant, the company is diving right back into the Capital City culinary scene.

“We’ve always been fans of Austin and had a great experience opening our first concept, Anthem, in the market,” said Nick Hogan, CEO of Flagship Restaurant Group, via release. “Blue has had phenomenal success with its three locations in Dallas/Fort Worth, so expanding to Austin was a natural move.”

Flagship isn’t the only Midwestern transplant falling in love with Austin. Aba, from Chicago’s Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, will open in spring 2020 at the Music Lane development on South Congress Avenue. Meanwhile, ‘Zza Pizza + Salad, a St. Louis pizzeria, is set to open in November in Bee Cave.