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Durham's Freshest Seafood Every Day: Blu Seafood and Bar

By Kelly Church

Just North of the state's capital, Durham, NC is home to a unique restaurant that thrives on only planning 24 hours ahead. Blu Seafood and Bar buys the freshest seafood available and has won several awards in recognition of the high quality seafood on the menu. Christopher Riddle, General Manager of Blu Seafood and Bar, says the food brings quality without the ego.

"Chef/Owner Tim Lyons comes from a famous Key West seafood restaurant," Riddle says. "He's bringing the attitude of high quality fresh seafood without pretension to Durham."

Fine seafood restaurants are notoriously lavish, with high prices and a sometimes stuffy atmosphere. Blu Seafood and Bar seeks to create a welcoming environment, inspired by a relaxed, Key West feel.

"We refer to our style of dining as Key West Casual," Riddle says. "Folks can come enjoy our food in shorts or a tux. High quality product in an easy environment is the goal. I believe we have achieved exactly that."

Fresh seafood is brought in daily to ensure customers are eating the best there is. The key, according to Riddle, is ordering every day. While most restaurants succeed by planning, Blu Seafood and Bar flourishes by taking the menu day by day, ordering the best seafood that is available that day, as opposed to what the chef has planned for the menu. Ensuring the restaurant has valuable relationships with its seafood purveyors is vital to getting fish that meets Blu's high standards.

The staff at Blu Seafood and Bar understands their role in protecting the environment in order to continue to provide quality food. Blu works to serve responsibly sourced seafood and support local fishing communities.

"Sometimes that makes it hard to know what you will be serving, our oyster selection varies day to day, but the quality is worth the trouble," Riddle says.

Some of Blu Seafood and Bar's most popular dishes include Cornmeal Calamari with a smoky chile aioli and cabbage salsa and the Carolina Mountain Trout with sweet potato mash, green beans, chipotle glaze, and mango salsa. A great drink completes the meal. Riddle says that the most popular concoctions are the Williams Pear martini, with pear-infused vodka, honey, and lemon, and the Mai Tai- which is only available on Tiki Thursdays.

The Blu Seafood and Bar has other weekly specials including Oyster Mondays, Catch of the Day, and Happy Hour. The staff here is eager to serve their fresh fish to whoever is willing to come in and enjoy it.

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