Sea Change's Tim McKee brings sustainable seafood to the Guthrie

Award-winning chef presents creative dining options at the "theatery"

Even the ubiquitous scallop seems novel at Sea Change: A gorgeous platter presented three behemoth creatures with a flamboyant mixture of sweet corn, chorizo, jalapeño, and lime. It was like a deconstructed version of the best fish taco you've ever eaten.

Wisconsin's Star Prairie trout, a longtime favorite of locavore chefs, is served with an unusual combination of curry, fresh watercress, and cauliflower puffs that are a little like homemade Pirate's Booty. Anderson and his crew treat even the smallest details with care—those little puffs involve a multistep process in which cauliflower is pureed, mixed into a dough, steamed, dehydrated, and deep fried.

But Anderson also knows when to leave well enough alone, particularly with the raw-bar items, such as smoked salmon served with fried capers, grated egg, and buttery rye toasts. The Hawaiian-style yellowfin poke (pronounced POH-keh) features ruddy pink tuna cubes on bamboo skewers served on a seaweed-sesame bed. I hope poke replaces cocktail weenies as the party food of the next decade.

Diners have to use their imaginations at Sea Change: The menu describes this raw-tuna dish only as albacore-watermelon-jalapeño-mint
Alma Guzman
Diners have to use their imaginations at Sea Change: The menu describes this raw-tuna dish only as albacore-watermelon-jalapeño-mint

Location Info

Map

Sea Change

806 S. 2nd St.
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Category: Restaurant > Seafood

Region: Minneapolis (Downtown)

Details

SEA CHANGE
818 S. Second St., Minneapolis
612.225.6499; seachangempls.com
appetizers $8-$15; entrées $18-$26

I was especially enamored with Anderson's intensely flavorful, well-balanced sauces—some were so good I would have drunk them by the glass. Oddly, the sole dish at Sea Change I didn't love was the one for which broth was most crucial: steamed mussels in a green curry that was dominated by coconut milk and too shy on the bright notes of kaffir lime and the funky pungency of fish sauce.

Even those who skip the seafood dishes will find much to be happy about. I loved a pretty beet salad made with crisp, rainbow-shaped pancetta arcs and a seared duck breast paired with lentils, pistachio, blackened orange segments, a sweet cherry sauce, and pickled cherry. It was the best duck dish I've had all year. Not bad for a seafood restaurant.

I found the service at Sea Change to be fine, though not as impressive as at La Belle Vie. But the restaurant's other elements, including the wine and cocktail lists, and the desserts, were equally first-rate. I discovered a surprising new favorite drink (I know sambuca and fresh basil sounds strange, but trust me, it's a heavenly match) and dessert, an ultra-smooth hazelnut semifreddo that was paired with the musty, floral essences of an Earl Gray foam. Cue's pastry chef Niki Francioli has been given more free reign under the new regime, resulting in more inspired treats, including an intense, blood-red cherry soup pooled around a lovely lemon panna cotta, and a dark-chocolate, ganache-like cake with hints of cherry and caramel.

Both in terms of concept and execution, Sea Change is the best new restaurant I've dined in so far this year. I think theatergoers will be pleased with the place, but I also hope Sea Change can cultivate its lunch and late-night crowds, with diners noshing on such dishes as fish and chips with tartar sauce foam. To make the deep-fried cod taste ultra light, the batter is sprayed on with a whipped-cream siphon. It's not a traditional technique, to be sure, but, like the restaurant, it's a welcome update to seafood cookery. 

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