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Originally published February 29, 2012 at 5:30 AM | Page modified February 29, 2012 at 12:14 PM

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Two eateries feed the happy-hour crowd at Bellevue's Nomu

Spicy tuna roll from Blue C Sushi and Asian-inspired comfort food from Boom Noodle are available at Nomu Izakaya Lounge, the hard-to-find-by-name bar that is shared by the two restaurants in Bellevue Square.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Nomu is a hard bar to find without a smartphone. I happened to be in Bellevue recently, and I asked one bar hopper after another. Bartenders too. Nomu? No one had ever heard of it. There's no sign for it.

But the die-hard fans of Blue C Sushi and Boom Noodle know it, even if they don't seem to know the bar by its name.

Both Boom Noodle and Blue C Sushi, under the same ownership, are located in Bellevue Square, sharing an upstairs bar called — you guessed it — Nomu Izakaya Lounge. At the bar, you can order the popular spicy tuna roll from Blue C Sushi. You can also order the Japanese- and Asian-inspired comfort food from Boom Noodle.

Downtown Bellevue has become the epicenter for happy hour on the Eastside, with about two dozen chain restaurants situated within a three-block radius competing for shoppers' attention.

Nomu's advantage is that it can offer a large and diverse happy-hour menu because the bar has access to two kitchens.

Nomu is a sleek, modern-looking bar, with wide windows overlooking both restaurants.

The happy-hour tuna and other rolls are reliably fresh, given that the popular Blue C Sushi restaurant goes through so much fish every day. Most happy-hour sushi items go for $1 to $2.75, a good deal.

The better happy-hour food, though, comes from Boom Noodle — some smoky, flash-seared salmon slices with ponzu, and the crunchy, sesame-crusted prawns.

Outside of the dry and bland Vietnamese-inspired spring rolls, the other Boom Noodle noshes are solid, though pretty-hard-to-mess-up dishes such as edamame purée, calamari and deep-fried tofu.

Nomu Izakaya Lounge, 503 Bellevue Square, offers happy hour daily from 4 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, 4-9.p.m. Sunday and on other days 4-7 p.m., with bar-food specials from Boom Noodle and Blue C Sushi ($1-$6) and $6 specialty cocktails, $3.50 well drinks, $2.50 sake and $1 off on draft beer (425-454-8288).

Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or tvinh@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @tanvinhseattle.

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