After an epic research tour of Mexico, chef Billy Tserenbat of Sushi Fix is back in town and ready to apply all he’s learned. Introducing Baja Haus, his new Mexican joint in the same strip mall as the sushi spot.
Baja Haus is scheduled to open on March 1, Tserenbat's lucky day, the same day he opened his over-the-top sushi restaurant with the Wagyu beef and the ski shots in 2014.
But what exactly does it look like when an expert sushi slinger takes on Mexican cuisine? For starters, handmade tortillas, which are the new standard for higher-end Mexican spots (see romantic tacqueria Jefe Urban Hacienda and Pajarito, the instant party on West 7th Street in St. Paul).
Tserenbat says he met his “sensei” in mountains of San Sebastian Mexico, so he’s planning to mill his own masa on site, just as he learned.
Tserenbat says he was also “blown away” by the use of sesame seeds in the cooking in San Sebastian, an ingredient that resonates with him thanks to its use in all kinds of Asian cooking. It shows up in the mole he’ll be showcasing as a weekly special.
Baja Haus will also emphasize a lot of fresh fish in its brand of Mexican, so think ceviche, and (yes!) sushi.
“You know, sushi is huge in Mexico. Super on trend. Most trendy restaurants all have sushi inspired dishes,” he tells me. If you enjoy the oceanic side of Mexican cooking, Baja Haus is gonna have oodles of it.
And, not surprisingly, there will be mezcal. Lots and lots of mezcal.
If you know Sushi Fix at all, you know that Tserenbat likes his high-quality drink. There you’ll find some of the finest Japanese whiskeys, which some people put up against Kentucky and Scotland.
So, naturally, Baja Haus will be big on mezcal. The bar will be run by Tserenbat's partner, Josh Friedt, a 20-year bar veteran who will spin that mezcal (and tequila!) into lovely, simple cocktails. There may even be a "tequila oyster," an oyster with a touch of tequila.
"I had it in Mexico and I can't let it go," he explains. “I loved the racilla too, but it’s definitely not for Americans.” That’s Mexican moonshine, and he’s right. It isn’t.
Opens March 1
830 Lake St. E., Wayzata