Sea Change, which is located on south 2nd street in Minneapolis (attached to the Guthrie Theater), is one of those places where food and art begin to blend together, but definitely not in an off-putting way. While the culinary artistry is on display with each dish, the seafood and flavors take center stage. And they are excellent.
We started with something that we’ve come to love, and almost always end up getting it when we go, Tuna Poke. The well-proportioned cubes of Hawaiian ahi tuna are covered in a great spicy mayo, but the addition of crunchy, slightly salty masago and raw scallions provides that textural balance that I’m a really big fan of. The accompanying seaweed salad doesn’t have that overpowering fishy, briny, seafoody taste that seaweed can sometimes have. It’s very clean tasting, with a good al dente texture without being slimy at all. The sesame oil they use as part of the dressing really brings it all together. The key for this dish is to get a bite of all the elements together. Pretty amazing.
Aside from the tuna, we tried a starter that we’ve never had at Sea Change before – lamb samosas. I’m usually a little hesitant with samosas because they can often be over fried, which makes them dry and tough at the same time. However, given the quality of the food at Sea Change, I wasn’t worried, nor disappointed. The samosas are, well, delicious. The outer dough is perfectly balanced in terms of how much they use and how long they fry it. This results in a crispy and light outer shell that gives way to the decadent lamb inside. The lamb is not at all gamy and the spice mixture, which I couldn’t really identify, enhances the lamb meat with the right amount of salt and earthy flavors. The mint yogurt is pretty standard fare – it adds a nice temperature and textural contrast. The cucumber salad, however, is under utilized and I would have loved to have had a little more of that. The cucumbers are still crisp and the citrus in the dressing balances out the yogurt. I could have eaten an entire side of just that, to be honest.
For the main course, I went with the barramundi, a flaky white fish. The barramundi is cooked to perfection, with the fish staying moist and flaky while the descaled skin was crispy. It is served in a bowl that contains a poached egg, bok choy, watermelon radish , and sunchoke chips. Upon arrival, a rich, brown, mushroom broth is poured into the bowl. Now, I’m a big fan of sauces and broths, and this one is awesome. The broth has that great mushroom flavor, and turns the dish into a pseudo bouillabaisse. The barramundi is perfect for this dish because it has a tendency to fall apart, which allows you to get a little bit of the fish to pair with all the other elements in every single bite.
For her main course, H went with the scallops. I tried only one small bite – it was so good that she didn’t really want to share – but I can tell you this: the scallops are amazing. They are perfectly cooked – seared on the outside, buttery and creamy on the inside. And, no grit whatsoever. The cauliflower and bacon croquette that it comes served with is fantastic. The bacon is very subtle and its natural smokiness brings out the delicate flavor of the scallops. Next time, I may have to get this one for myself. Also, do not skip the side of Brussels sprouts. Caramelized to perfection.
And that all brings us to dessert. We had two. First, the Caramel Coffee Pot de Creme. It comes served with a dollop of pear sorbet. The caramel coffee pot de creme is very rich and very creamy. The coffee doesn’t overpower the caramel, and that to me is the key to the dish. The pear sorbet helps to add that bit of fruit and acidity to cut through the sweetness of the caramel and coffee. And, it really does taste like pear. This is a dessert that I really like but not sure how often I would want to eat it. It’s that rich.
The other dessert we went with was the Calamansi Napoleon. In between the crisps, which included a sesame brittle in the middle (heh, that basically rhymes) is a lemon ice cream or sorbet or something. Whatever it is, it’s very, very good. The coconut sorbet goes really well here. The milky, sweet, and soft coconut flavor mixes really well with the citrus. I’m hoping this stays on the menu for a long time.
Overall, Sea Change continues to impress. Having been there a number of times, I’m always pleasantly surprised by the quality and consistency of their food, although I don’t know why I should be. It’s one of our very favorite restaurant in Minneapolis, and for very good reason.