Sitting down to a particularly late dinner on a particularly ravenous day, we were lured in by the glorious excess of the new AOI Blue Bar's Sushi Lovers for 2 special. Our server described it (quite enthusiastically) as being a fantastic overview to the sushi offerings for first-timers to AOI.

Sitting down to a particularly late dinner on a particularly ravenous day, we were lured in by the glorious excess of the new AOI Blue Bar's Sushi Lovers for 2 special. Our server described it (quite enthusiastically) as being a fantastic overview to the sushi offerings for first-timers to AOI (AIO = "ow-wee" by the way.) At $53, it seems pricy, but the server insisted it was a huge bargain if you add up the actual prices of each of the individual rolls and sashimi pieces. At that point, honestly, my brain was so scattered from lack of food I couldn't even begin to try to pick my own combination of sushi rolls, and so we went for it. We plowed our way through every last roll and bit of sashimi, but just barely. This is a LOT of sushi.

Served on an impressive wooden bridge, this stunner comes with AOI's signature Volcano Roll as the centerpiece. Avocado-wrapped California rolls are drizzled in a mayo-y sauce and arranged in a circle around a pile of cooked fish topped with bright red roe. The fish was actually my least favorite part of this roll, only because the cooked-fish texture threw me off while eating the rest of the velvety raw sushi.

Above is my up-close photo of the Volcano Roll, and below is the restaurant's prettier depiction, displayed on their nifty iPad menu. Diners can flip through photos of every item on the menu, which is a novel idea and quite helpful when trying to decide between similar-sounding rolls.

Next is a Philly-type roll with salmon and cream cheese, then a California roll and two more salmon rolls, one of them spicy. On the sashimi side is an assortment of gorgeous, bright raw fish chosen by the chef. We got nigiri (sashimi served on a small ball of rice) with tuna, salmon and yellow tail, plus a bit more excellent tuna sashimi.

Besides all that sushi and sashimi, the Sushi Lovers special also came with miso soup and a salad! Wow. A bargain indeed if you're hungry enough to finish.

AOI Blue Bar

878 Bethel Rd., Northwest Side

614-824-2664

aoibluebar.com