Jessica and I had the chance to dine at Sea Change last weekend. It’s a seafood (surprise) restaurant located in the Guthrie Theater at the Mill District in Minneapolis on the Mississippi River. I’m sure your first thought is of the somewhat ridiculous idea of seafood in the Midwest. Sure, we’ll never have the quality of items one can find in Seattle, or Boston, but it’s pretty amazing what can be done with flash freezing and fresh food transportation these days.
[Photo © Marcus Nilsson]
The chefs at Sea Change are pulling it off though, with some inventive and delicious dishes put forth by the current chef de cuisine, Jamie Malone (who is a 2013 Food & Wine Best New Chef).
Sea Change focuses on using sustainable seafood for its menu, which was created by 2009 James Beard award winner Tim McKee. As the restaurant is located in the Guthrie, it stands to reason that the acoustics would be well done, and that’s definitely the case. While there was no shortage of ambient noise, Jessica and I had no problem talking and hearing each other at a normal volume. I personally can’t stand a place where you have to shout across the table just to to hear your dining partner.
We decided, after ordering drinks, to just sample several sharing plates together. Jessica had the Spring Herb Salad and I had what is known as the “Romaine” (which is essentially a caesar) to open. We moved on to the shrimp cocktail, which on the surface, sounds boring, but the presentation and flavor was excellent, if a little underwhelming. As the menu lists habañero cocktail sauce, we were pretty excited, but being one half New Mexican and the other half converted, it wasn’t nearly as spicy as we had hoped. The shrimp itself was a perfect texture and bite (unlike e shrimp cocktail we had recently at a local seafood joint).
Next up was the oysters Rockefeller and biscuits with beer jam. Sounds intriguing, I know. The oysters were ok–I think I just prefer them raw–but the beer jam? I would eat that on anything. It was all I could do to not just drink it out of the hermetic jar it was served in. More of a honey consistency than actual jam, with a sweet beer flavor, it needs to be jarred and sold over the counter immediately.
The main course of sorts for us was the grilled octopus with salsa verde and Spanish peppers. Since we’d had a similar dish at Bottega Louie in Los Angeles last year, we wanted to try it again at a different place. The dish isn’t exactly grilled, but only finished there after slow cooking. The consistency and taste were incredible.
I’d have more images, but I still can’t bring myself to be that guy photographing dishes with my iPhone, so you’ll just have to trust me (as you can see from above, cell photos can tend to turn out lousy).
Overall, Sea Change is a fun, affordable and delicious place to stop by if you’re ever in Minneapolis. The service was nearly perfect, great ambiance, and the quality of the seafood is impressive, especially for a landlocked city.