Wayzata Ways

NorthCoast, the first of two planned California-accented restaurants, debuts swimmingly

A dozen clams, served chilled with a pale, creamy sauce called, oddly, a white gazpacho, were clean and pricked the appetite. I'd avoid the crab and scallop rice-paper rolls ($9). They were squishy, and the textures--too much cilantro, slippery fresh mango, stringy crab--came together in an off-putting way. The smoked lobster cocktail ($13) with a bit of coconut dressing was nice--pure and plain.

All of the entrees I tried were deftly accomplished. The center-cut filet ($35), served with your choice of grilled asparagus or fries, was textbook perfect. The sautéed walleye ($22) was so light it might have been held together with air, and while the green and yellow string beans beside it were a little greasy and over-buttered, I would certainly recommend it to anyone searching for good walleye. A halibut fillet ($18) was crisp and brown without, tender and pure within, though the bed of ratatouille it was on seemed oddly concentrated and heavy. In short, only a food critic could find fault with anything I tried. That's saying a lot.

The wine list is food-friendly, lifestyle-useful, and thoughtful. The Dry Creek Vineyard Fumé Blanc ($28 a bottle) is lemony and pure with a distinct meadow-smoke sort of undertone; it goes beautifully with the chilled seafoods, and does fine with the fried ones too. A glass of Murphy Goode Tin Roof Sauvignon Blanc ($6 a glass) is clean with a lemon-peel and summer-grass scent; it's ideal alongside a lunchtime salad. The restaurant offers plenty of bottles in the $20 range for sharing with friends on the deck, and enough prestige reds so that you can prove that all your cash isn't tied up in your yacht.

A little slice of California in Wayzata: NorthCoast's smoked lobster cocktail
Bill Kelley
A little slice of California in Wayzata: NorthCoast's smoked lobster cocktail

Location Info

Map

NorthCoast

294 Grove Lane E.
Wayzata, MN 55391

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Wayzata

Really, the only thing NorthCoast needs, besides an actual reservations policy, is a better dessert program. In the worst case, desserts tasted like they came from a lackluster commercial bakery (the pallid and saccharine banana cream pie, $5), while in the best case desserts are Sonny's ice cream. Which is charming, as it's the best ice cream around, but, you know, still. You spend a few years waiting for a restaurant and you hope for a pastry chef. Oh well, I suppose that's why expectation rhymes with defenestration.

For me, I can't see driving out to NorthCoast again. It's the kind of place that's invaluable if it's nearby, but grows less interesting with every mile you must travel to get there. Though, to be fair, I should admit that there's an appetizer I never tried: the Wayzata Grand Platter, with its $65 price tag. It might just be brilliant. I'll tell you what, though. If the gentlemen of my acquaintance ever become in the preponderance sockless, I'll let you know how it tastes.

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