Solera, La Belle Vie and now Sea Change. 2009 James Beard award Best Chef Midwest, Tim McKee, has never failed to bring us the joy of fine dining. Now that I have finally visited all three of Chef Tim McKee's creation in the Twin Cities. What's next for me, chef?
Located inside the Gurtherie Theater in downtown Minneapolis, Sea Change definitely is meant for the expensive, high-class and sophisticated theater-going crowd. A lot of open space and nice lay out, Sea Change also offers a bar/lounge area around the restaurant and also a raw bar area to be up close with the kitchen. If you are thinking of Hell's Kitchen (the TV show) kind of action, this is not what's happening in this place. Yes, people are busy, orders after orders, plates after plates, but it really seems like they are very confident with what they are doing and it was such a pleasure to watch.
Charred Diver Scallop with Dill, Olive oil and Lemon: Fresh scallops, lightly charred on the outside with such strong smoky flavor, and dill and sea salt, all to bring out even more freshness and juice of the scallop. Decorated with flower pedals? How could you resist that?
Raw Oysters with Cucumber lemon sauce, Kimchi sauce and Jalapeno Mustard sauce: Oysters are small from Virginia, but oh well, we are not along the coast. And with Sea Change's sustainable farming/fishing concept behind it all, I doubt we will see cheap and big oysters at the restaurant. Despite the unsatisfying small gulp of the oyster, the sauces were amazing. I especially like the cucumber lemon. It's time for people to stop using cocktail sauce for oysters. I am always a fan of just simple lemon juice, but surprisingly, cucumber juice is equally as good and refreshing. The kimchi one was interesting to try and not too bad for taste. However, you have to appreciate kimchi in order to enjoy this sauce with raw oysters though...
Ocean Trout with Spicy Lobster sauce: My friend said, the only thing about fancy restaurants is that they never serve you enough food. I disagree. We, Americans, are so used to large portion, that you began to forgot how much food is enough. Smaller portion, hence more courses. Dining is an experience, not your Applebee's an hour fast meal. And believe it or not, after some bread, some conversation and wine, this portion was the perfect portion. Let's you sit back down for the theater and not feeling nauseously full and drowsy.
Yellowfin Tuna with Shishito Pepper Vinaigrette, Turnip Cake with Chinese Sausage and Preserved Mushrooms: I was watching the chefs preparing this dishes non-stop, so I thought I should give it a try since it's so popular. It was surprising. When I read about the Turnip cake with Chinese sausage and preserved mushroom, I had no idea what it was describing.
White Raddish Cake!!! Instead of using raddish, Sea Change uses turnip instead. Similar taste and texture, even with the Chinese sausage and mushrooms. I was surprised by the use of this classic Chinese/Cantonese element with a medium seared yellowfin tuna. The dish was very nicely done. I wasn't a big fan of the Shishito mushroom sauce. It was a bit too salty for the cake. For those who never had the piece of Chinese cake before, it probably was a good pairing similar to your mashed potatoes. But for those who have this Chinese cake under other conditions, this pairing with yellowfin tuna was a bit hard to digest.
Sea Change has been broadcasting their patio opening on radios. It'd be such a fun and nice place to mingle and enjoy a fine meal or just small raw bar foods. This maybe what defines a high life in the Minneapolis summer. Oh yea.