Is it the food, the ambiance, or the magic of the Guthrie that makes Sea Change an exceptional place for an anniversary dinner? It may not matter. Combined, all three created a romantically upscale evening we’ll chalk up as worth remembering.
Picking the perfect time to arrive probably didn’t hurt, either. Our 8:30 reservation allowed time for pre-performance patrons to clear out, late-night diners to trickle in, and evening to settle over the city. The restaurant’s open space, with modern lighting and decor dividing the room into more intimate areas, creates a feeling all its own. Two-story windows along every side offer a glimpse – depending on your spot – of the Minneapolis skyline or the Mississippi river under a starry sky, and a larger-than-life mobile hangs from the ceiling to supplement the artsy vibe.
Ready for a pre-dinner cocktail, we were disappointed to see such a sparse drink list. Jim’s strawberry and bourbon concoction was served up, and apart from any man’s hesitation to sip a frilly martini in public, the tastes didn’t jive. The sweet slush with a handsome bourbon burn tasted as though two separate drinks were mistakenly combined. However, my summer sangria with white wine and pineapple was small but pleasant and would go well with much of the seafood menu.
We began dinner with the langostines platter, a dish that defined “bite size” but had enormous flavor. Two small crustaceous fish, mostly de-shelled and served raw, were topped with spicy olive oil, rosemary (likely mixed with chives and garlic, though we couldn’t tell for sure), and flecks of chili. The fish was stunningly delicious, and left us excellent drippings for the spongy bread at our table.
To taste something beyond a simple halibut or arctic char, Jim ordered the grilled salmon belly served over ramen noodles with a poached egg, tender roast pork, and fresh summer vegetables. The belly was intentionally underdone, and though complicated, the dish seamlessly combined an array of flavors with a fun spray of colors. I opted for two starter plates: the warm roasted beets in place of salad and grilled octopus for the protein. The beets sat on a long narrow plate with microgreens, crispy pancetta, bleu cheese crumbles and walnuts, and were lightly topped with a strong citrus drizzle. Sweet pleasantly met sour, while the walnuts and greens kept the dish earthy. The grilled octopus arrived next to dollops of tangy salsa verde and Spanish pepper chutney, and was sprinkled with pimentón for extra zing. The smoky tentacles were hard to cut, but offered a nice contrast to the bright flavors from the dressings.
It’s always impressive when the wait staff takes note of our OpenTable comments and requests. Our waitress offered a “Happy Anniversary” when we took our seats and presented us a homemade confection after dinner with a personalized greeting across the top. Though the drinks were a letdown, our entrees offered forgiveness – we’d both happily order the same plates again, and likely rave about them all the same. With affable service, high-quality seafood and thoughtfully creative execution, we’d enthusiastically recommend Sea Change for any occasion. If there’s no hope in saving room for dessert, be sure to save time for a walk to the endless bridge. The Guthrie’s view of the cities is just as sweet.
RATING (out of 5 ♠♠♠♠♠)
Menu Selection: ♠♠♠
Food Taste & Presentation: ♠♠♠♠
COMPLETE EXPERIENCE: ♠♠♠♠1/2
Total bill, including tip: $105