31 October 2010

Birthday lunch at Sea Change, Minneapolis

I’ve written before about how my brother and I have lunch in between our birthdays. His is in October. Mine is in November. (Click here to read last year’s post.) This year, we went to Sea Change at the Guthrie in Minneapolis. I’ve written before about Sea Change. It’s one of my top two restaurants in the Twin Cities. And my brother and I have had our birthday lunch here, too. Only last time, the restaurant was Cue.

Our experience at lunch only reconfirmed that Sea Change is one of my two favorite special occasion restaurants in the Twin Cities. (I have to say ‘Twin Cities’ rather than Minneapolis, since the other one is Meritage in St. Paul.)
When we arrived at noon on a Friday, the restaurant was mostly deserted. There were maybe one or two other tables of diners there. I hope that’s not an indication that they’re in trouble. By the time we left, there were a few more tables occupied. But still not too busy.

At first, I was a little disappointed. The selection of items on the lunch menu seemed quite limited. And then, our server told us that they soup of the day was not available. He said it was like a white gazpacho, with grapes instead of tomatoes. Alas, it was not available.

I also asked about the grilled octopus. I’ve had it as a starter for dinner on past visits. It’s fabulous. The octopus is slightly chewier than calamari. But the smoky flavor from the grill and the salsa and smoked paprika give it a very distinctive flavor with just a hint of heat. While he appreciated my enthusiasm for the dish, it was not available for lunch.

Not an auspicious start. I was worried that maybe I would have to reassess my rating of the restaurant. I shouldn’t have fretted. We had a great lunch.
I started out with a salad. The server described it as sort of a deconstructed Caesar salad. It was great. One of the things I loved was how the egg was served. It was like a soft boiled egg on the side of the plate. Very attractive and unusual. For my entrée, I had arctic char. I have had char before. I just keep forgetting how similar it is to salmon. It was very nicely prepared and was served with white beans and an artichoke giardiniera. I don’t remember what Mike has as a starter. But for his lunch, he had the appetizer serving of smoked salmon. It was wonderful, flavorful thin slices of salmon beautifully arranged on the plate with a few greens and other garnishes. I tasted it. Sometimes smoked salmon is very pungent and salty. The smoky flavor on this serving was subtle and not at all salty. It was great.

We did split a bottle of wine. Mike picked a Tempranillo, Rioja, Remelluri. It was very good. Even though it was a red, it complemented our fish quite well.

So despite some early trepidation, Sea Change met my expectations and easily remains on my list as one of the top two special occasion restaurants in the Twin Cities.

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