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Did you know Northwest Arkansas has a legitimate fresh fish and seafood market and restaurant in Bentonville?
If you’ve ever driven on 5th Street in Bentonville to visit the Momentary, Airship Coffee, Delta Biscuit Café, or the Meteor Cafe, you may have unknowingly driven past Northwest Arkansas’s freshest fish market and restaurant.
Then again, did you notice the fisherman mural on the former car repair shop? He’s pointing at the restaurant and market front door! It’s a sign!
Blu Fresh Fish Marketplace brings the ocean to you by flying in fresh fish from the Gulf and around the world.
Barry Meneses and his wife, Ali Furuseth, opened Blu in May 2014. Barry started selling fish when he was very young and was around seafood his whole life. As he got older, he was a seafood distributor in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. He noticed a fresh seafood gap in the Northwest Arkansas area, so he and Ali had a grand idea to open a market and restaurant.
He named it Blu, the color of the ocean. Although daughter Isabella Meneses-Furuseth quickly told me that blue was also her dad’s favorite color. “Blue is my dad’s favorite color because it’s blue, like the ocean. Naming it Blu made sense at the time. Blue is a happy color.”
This is a family place. Besides mom and dad, four of their kids, three cousins and nieces work here. “It’s a whole family ordeal,” Isabella shared with me. “We all do different roles. Mostly front of the house and servers. The Youngers are bussers or hosts.”
Blu is a little bit of everything, but let’s be clear – the focus is on the freshest of fish! Everything is wild, and nothing is farmed-raised. You can order online, dine in, have sushi, have fresh fish cooked, eat a sandwich or a taco.
“I think the unique thing is that we play to many different crowds,” shared Isabella. “We can be more like a market type with sandwiches, but we can also do a nicer piece of fish. We also do sushi. It plays to a lot of different crowds. It can be overwhelming the first time. I recommend you start with specials or start with appetizers. Our appetizers are great, and you can’t go wrong!”
Starts range from edamame, miso soup, seaweed salad, sashimi, or why not share a house roll? I recommend starting with Salmon Belly Nigiri, which is beautiful and so fatty that it is like butter in your mouth! Or try the white tuna!
The menu also boasts a Catch of the Day with some seasonal options. Florida Grouper is flown in fresh throughout the week, but this latest visit had me eyeballing the seasonal Amberjack. Since you don’t see that every day, I went with blackened Amberjack with freshly cut fries and house pineapple slaw. It was both mild and flavorful!
Blu believes in bringing in the best from where they think it’s the best of the best. Some seafood is from the Gulf, and some is from Spain or Seattle. Most are from Iceland and Nova Scotia, where the water is icy. To survive, the fish need extra fat on them.
The market is bringing in fresh, flying it in multiple times a week. They are local, so you can see that the family is all working together to bring the best market and restaurant experience to every customer.
Blu Fresh Fish Marketplace
607 SE 5th St.
Closed Sunday and Monday
Tuesday-Thursday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
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