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  • Writer's pictureJarnard Sutton

In the Kitchen with executive chef James Pyo: Yellowtail Crudo

Courtesy photo Jarnard Sutton

Photo Courtesy: Jarnard Sutton

At Blue Ocean Robata & Sushi Bar, presentation is very important. Executive chef and owner James Pyo blends art and flavor when creating innovative dishes. Pyo wants all his dishes to look as good as it taste.

In this episode, executive chef James Pyo explains how he blends California diversity in this yellowtail dish.

Tell us about this dish?

Yellowtail Crudo is one of our newest menu items. In Italian, crudo means “raw”. It’s yellowtail wrapped around grapefruit topped with avocado puree, a chef blend seasoning, olive oil powder and garnished with micogreens and edible flowers.

Why is this dish a good addition to the menu?

Many people are scared to eat raw fish, so I created the Yellowtail Crudo to help ease people into trying raw fish by adding ingredients that people are familiar with like avocado and grapefruit.

Describe the taste to someone who hasn't had this dish?

The mild, yet delicious taste of the yellowtail is brightened by the grapefruit. The avocado puree adds another flavorful dimension and balances out the citrus.

Where do you get the Yellowtail? Japan.

How does the grapefruit and avocado puree contribute to the dish? Avocado practically begs for citrus flavors so the two works hand in hand. I like to constantly create new innovative dishes. The Yellow Crudo has an Italian and Southern California with the avocados and grapefruit.

How do you add the expression "Art is Appetite" to this dish? Presentation is extremely important at my restaurants. Our dishes have to look as good as it tastes. With the Yellowtail Crudo, it’s colorful and vibrant, fresh and full of textures. I want dining experience at my restaurants to be fun and have our guests look forward to something new every time.

What's a good beer and/or cocktail to pair with this dish? The sake Dewazakura Dewasansan Junmai Ginjo because it has a mellow fruity flavor with a refreshing finish to help clean your palate for the next bite.

Yellowtail Crudo

Price: $12

Photo courtesy Jarnard Sutton

Photo Courtesy: Jarnard Sutton

What kind of experience will a diner get at Blue Ocean Robata Sushi? It’s full sensory experience when you dine at Blue Ocean. Guests are greeted with a geometric fish entryway leading into the restaurant with origami ceilings and hanging glass-blown spheres. The wood floor is the color of the sandy ocean floor. After that, guests can see, smell and taste our dishes over conversations with family and friends.

About James Pyo

Photo courtesy Jarnard Sutton

Photo Courtesy: Jarnard Sutton

Are you from San Diego?

No, I’m originally from South Korea, but I’ve been living in San Diego for the past 10 years.

How long have you been working at Blue Ocean Robata & Sushi Bar? Since it opened two years ago. I’m the executive chef/owner of Blue Ocean.

What inspired you to become a chef?

I really like the way the colors of plants, fruits, vegetables, and fish really blend together, and I was inspired by artistic aspect of food. When I go to restaurants and see a really beautiful dish it inspires me to also get creative. I want to make a lasting impression on our guests and inspire them to keep coming back for more.

What's your favorite dish to prepare?

I really enjoy preparing sashimi plates because it allows me to really get creative. I am able to incorporate different ingredients that represent the flavors of the land and sea.

When you're not coming up with delicious food items for Blue Ocean, what do you enjoy doing on your spare time?

I enjoy studying cooking techniques, photography and gardening.

Blue Ocean Robata & Sushi Bar

2958 Madison St., Carlsbad. (760) 434-4959 or

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