Tim McKee consulting for new Masu Sushi & Robata

Our James Beard Award-winning Best Chef Midwest, Tim McKee, has been busy not just operating his own eateries (La Belle Vie, Solera, Sea Change, etc.) but consulting with other local restaurateurs to improve their businesses.

In addition to his current gig, assisting Parasole's Il Gatto with a menu rework, McKee is also working with the owners of a forthcoming sushi joint.

The former Let's Cook space, at 330 E. Hennepin Ave., has been vacant for a while, and the The Journal (formerly Downtown Journal, now includes Northeast) reports that it will soon become a Japanese joint called Masu Sushi & Robata.

The owners, Sushi Avenue, a company in Eagan that supplies chefs, recipes, fish, and other ingredients to grocery stores and co-ops, has partnered with McKee and Shea design to help them with the concept, focusing on the menu and design for the proposed 80-seat dining room.

Stephan Hesse, formerly of Tonic and Stella's Fish Café and Sushi Avenue's newly hired corporate executive chef, says he believes the restaurant will open by March 2011.

Of course we're always looking forward to seeing McKee put his magic touch on more restaurants, especially one that includes robata, the Japanese charcoal grills, which are currently hard to find in the metro, beyond Obento Ya.

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