Food A spicy tuna roll from Blu in the East Village Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013.

A spicy tuna roll from Blu in the East Village Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013.

Tasty Thai, sushi at Blu

Published on November 1st, 2013 | by Laura Billingsley

A nearly empty restaurant is a little depressing. While it might be nice to think you’ve discovered an unknown spot, usually it leaves diners wondering what other people know that they don’t. Blu, in the East Village, doesn’t have that problem. Diners occupied every table and booth during a recent weekday lunch hour, savoring a variety of noodle and rice dishes, curries and sushi.

Housed in the space previously occupied by Taste of Thai, Blu bills itself as a Thai and sushi restaurant. The menu includes all the favorites like pad Thai, pineapple fried rice and a selection of curries, as well as specialty sushi rolls such as the Hulk (cucumber, red tuna, white tuna, yellowtail, salmon and kani, $8) and the Green Caterpillar Roll (scallop, avocado, crispies, unagi sauce and masago, $12).

Orange walls complement black chairs and booths, giving the restaurant a modern feel. The wood-paneled ceiling adds warmth, as do framed food pictures on the walls. Our booth had a view of the street outside.

My dining partner and I ordered a spicy tuna roll for an appetizer ($6). It included eight pieces and was satisfying, but not very spicy and somewhat squishy. I tried the yellow curry lunch special ($8.95), which included a hearty portion of chicken and vegetables in sauce, along with white rice. The potatoes and carrots were cooked perfectly, and the coconut milk sauce was rich, creamy and flavorful. I enjoyed it as much as any other curry dish I’ve had in the Des Moines area.

My friend had the basil with chicken ($6.95), a colorful dish full of peppers, mushrooms and onions. She said it tasted fresh, and the basil-flavored broth made for a warming lunch on a cold day.

Service at Blu was prompt and water glasses refilled often. The lunch specials are a good value, offering a range of options all for less than $9. There are also daily specials that include appetizers and a drink. If you arrive during happy hour (5-7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 2-6 p.m. Saturday) you can get a couple bucks off a good variety of sushi rolls, as well beer specials.

The bustling atmosphere and well-prepared dishes make Blu a fun spot for a meal or drinks and appetizers.


Find it: 215 E. Walnut St.

Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, 4-9 p.m. Sunday

Info: 515-528-2342 or

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About the Author

Laura is contributor to Juice Magazine.

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