Sea Salt Minneapolis Report
- AliceS Jul 24, 2006 12:16 PM
We went to Sea Salt yesterday for an early dinner and were fairly pleased. Standouts include the calamari taco and the soft shell crab sandwich. The line was awfully long at 5pm, partly because there were a lot of people, partially because the set-up is not so efficient: the guy taking orders was sort of slow, and he was also responsible for getting beverages, so we waited at least 15 minutes to order. Once we ordered it did not take long to get food.
Eating outside is nice, but there are only a few tables with adequate shade, so be prepared to sweat!
I've noticed some of the same inefficiencies in terms of getting your order in and whatnot. But I think the real issue is they seem to have a pretty good handle on how quickly they can put out the food. I think they intentionally take their time on the ordering end because if they get all the orders in too quickly, people will wait too long for their food.
I can't honestly decide if I'd rather wait in line and then get the food quickly or get the order in quickly and then have to wait longer for the food. I suppose it depends on the weather?
Here's hoping they have a way to increase their kitchen size!
If you can ever get there for lunch, there likely won't be any lines. Most of my visits occur over the lunch hour -- I get from Eagan to there and back, including ordering and eating in the car, easily within an hour.
Also yesterday (a Sunday), I was up there at about high noon -- no line and plenty of tables.
Of course, now that I've broadcast that, I'm sure I've tainted the no-waiting karma I've enjoyed there so far. I guess that's alright -- there are some places where waiting just forces me to take a deep breath and enjoy the surroundings more. They seem to have that vibe at Sea Salt.
Dara Moskowitz wasn't kidding in her review -- eat early and keep an eager eye out for the rain.
... peering at the sky (late-afternoon T-storms in the forecast) and wondering about the Catch of the Day (one last week was lobster) ...
might have to leave work a tad early today... :)
The uninitiated would be happier with Sea Salt if they realized it's not a restaurant. It's a shack. Think road food, crab shack, or lobster pound and then you'll be forming the right level of expectation for service, style, and quality. The clam strips and locally brewed beer in a park next to Minnehaha Falls - this is bliss. They are not a high volume operation, but given the number of seats outside they really have no need. Also remember they're seasonal. Hey if the Peace coffee and funky/delicious scones aren't enough then perhaps there's a seat at a Mall of America food court.
My point is not so pointed Alice. I hear the positives in these posts and was merely elaborating on the fact that Sea Salt is far from a conventional restaurant. If immediate seating and fast service are a criteria there's an abundance of both at the Mall of America.
Back to chow commentary... I had the oysters, in July and should not have been surprised they were spawny. The clam strips while not amazing were faithful to the idea of lots of crunchy breading, salt, and were delicious with beer. The fish taco had a basic tomato sauce, was pretty true to form, and not a giant portion. The crab cakes were large and not heated as thoroughly as they should have been. All in all the check was over $40 with a couple of beers. Seating was readily available, but about 3/4 of the plastic chairs were broken. Be careful.
re: Karl Gerstenberger
"The crab cakes were large and not heated as thoroughly as they should have been."
How heated should crab cakes be? everything that goes in to a crab cake has already been cooked (specifically, crab is always pre-cooked unless you catch it, buy it live, or is soft-shelled), so you are not eating anything raw or under-done.
Could you define "spawny" as far as taste is concerned? While oysters are not as good in June, July, and August, I believe the majority of cultured oysters (which pretty much covers most of the oysters you will buy) are triploids and thus are unable to spawn.
Mayo based crab cakes should be food safe and still moist at 150 degrees. Crab cakes are assembled in stages, with plenty of opportunity for food born illness depending on how carefully they're handled. These were barely warm. Incidentally I'd be fine with a crab salad if the crab was cold (40 degrees or cooler), but a luke warm crab salad is also dangerous. Undercooked crab can also be a problem regardless of how it's served.
A spawny oyster is bland, more white in color, and the texture is mushy. I don't recall the variety and couldn't tell you if it was a triploid or a non hybrid variety. This may be a term I've thrown around too liberaly, I only know that cold water oysters can be completely delicious, and I've always assumed warm water months produced less tastey product.