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MSP - Sea Salt Eatery

I'm trying it out for the first time this weekend and I don't really know what to expect. The menu says the entrees are all based on what comes into Coastal Seafood. Would love any suggestions or reviews of previous experiences there! Thanks in advance!

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  1. Their menu is here http://seasalteatery.wordpress.com/menu/ Basically, the specials are the items that change, so one or two of the listed items may be offered. The rest of the menu tends to remain constant.

    In terms of what to expect, you can find a range of opinions here:

    2 Replies
    1. re: KTFoley

      Thanks KTFoley - this is incredibly helpful! I did a search and didn't come up with much recently- I really wish I had seen the last opinion thread - 536998 - otherwise would never have posted.

      1. re: KTFoley

        If you go to the homepage (http://seasalteatery.wordpress.com/) you can find that day's menu.

        They occasionally run out of the specials (I was there tonight hoping for the gazpacho but they were already out) but everything I've had has been great. I recommend the calamari and clam strips for starters, the tacos and po boy's are also good. I'm not a huge fan of the baskets because I don't like the coleslaw (I'm picky about it). If they still have the mussels, they were great, too.

      2. The fried items are generally pretty tasty (fried oysters, soft shelled crab, clams, and fish) but can get a bit heavy or monotonous in quantity. Was very pleased last time we were there with the crawfish roll, a nice and less expensive alternative a lobster roll. as mentioned the specials are very tasty when available, but the regular menu items arent shabby either.

        2 Replies
        1. re: tex.s.toast

          My friend and I are going to go tomorrow - and after reading all the reviews KTFoley provided as well as tex.s.toast and sullysully - it seems like a mixed bag. However, I'm going to keep an open mind, knowing to get there early, expect a wait and do not get frustrated when they run out of the specials. Will report back!

          1. re: MNLawGirl

            I was there recently and had an order of grilled marlin tacos---unfortunately the grill marks were pretty severe, creating a char taste that overpowered the fish. I basically cut off that part and ate the rest, didn't return it- but did tell someone later about it. I also just went to try out Tin Fish by Lake Calhoun, and asked if their grilled fish had major char to it, and the woman at the counter said 'no way'....but I ended up just getting the $2.75 mini tin- with fried fish, to save $. It was very good, a bit too much sweet tartar sauce on it though. Got a side of slaw (and yes I'm picky too)- it was ok, same for Seasalt's-- I guess I need to airlift my great slaw dressing recipe to all the restaurants in town---cider vinegar and honey........NOT a bunch of celery seed, or too much sugar with no sour, or too salty monotonous. It's really simple but I think a lot of people don't think about cider vinegar.

        2. This may have been a one time thing, but I had three good size shrimp for $5 a piece. They were overcooked so I wasn't happy. Maybe I wouldn't have minded the price if they had been delicious. My husband had a soft shell crab sandwich and liked it.

          2 Replies
          1. re: conniemcd

            5 dollars per shrimp or 3 for 5 dollars? Prices at sea salt arent what i'd call a bargain but 5 dollars a shrimp seems pretty extreme.

            As with every grumbly thread, did you let a staff member or manager know that your food had been overcooked? Did they offer any replacement options/to cook them again?

            The soft shell crabs are very good, and they were highly accommodating the last time I was there and let us order a soft shell po-boy instead of the sandwich (different bun/fixings? im not even sure i remember why we wanted it that way)

            1. re: tex.s.toast

              Just saw your post. Yes, 5$ a shrimp. No I didn't mention it to anyone on the staff, but it was a zoo. We waited in line long enough--over a 1/2 hour and even longer for the meal. Your point is good about bringing it to someone's attention.

          2. Wife and at about 11:30, after a failed attempt to go to Mill City farmer's market ($8 for parking? No thank you.)

            Line was very short. They were out of all the specials I wanted to try, so I went with the crawfish po' boy. Wife had the fried fish taco. For some reason I had it in my head that the portions were small, so we split the clam fries.

            The clam fries were great. Nicely fried and seasoned. Not too dry, and plenty meaty. These were some of the best I've had.

            The po' boy was big enough for two. It was quite good, with a generous supply of crawfish. They provide every sauce under the sun, so I added some habanero heat. It was a great sandwich, though a bit redundant with the clam strips.

            The wife's fish tacos were the highlight. The fish was great, the tacos were done right (i.e., two tortillas, not sour cream style), and the plate is a steal for $5.

            The view, of course, is wonderful, and the meal was successful enough that I would consider negotating the lines for the higher-ticket dinner items.

            11 Replies
            1. re: kevin47

              was it the guthrie ramp charging that? meters are free on Sat in most of Mpls, are they not over there?

              1. re: MayrMN

                I suspect the "event charge" was a Guthrie thing (which: matinee? ridiculous). Meters are not free in that part of town.

                1. re: kevin47

                  The meters are free on Sunday for sure (that is the day when we go to the market) on the north side of 2nd next to the Guthrie, however because of this, there are rarely any spots there. If those are full, there are always more on Portland, Park, Chicago, and 9th (the ones on the side of Aloft are almost always available, even during weekend performances of Christmas Carol). But heck, not a bad reason to visit Sea Salt!

                  1. re: Foureyes137

                    Seems like the start of this thread was Sea Salt, located by Minnehaha Falls, then changed to SEA CHANGE, the new restaurant at the Guthrie...please note which you are talking about to avoid confusion.

                    1. re: SmartCookie

                      actually, kevin said in his post upthread that they went to sea SALT after an aborted trip to the mill city farmers market, which is right next to sea change, which i am pretty sure no one has talked about. ive never had trouble finding (metered) parking at the MCM on a saturday, but thats just my angle coming from san francisco where parking (looking for it, and talking about it) is our favorite pastime

                      1. re: tex.s.toast

                        Yeah, we weren't prepared with quarters since the last time we were at the ramp, the prices were very reasonable.

                    2. re: Foureyes137

                      okay, now i'm *really* confused, because MCFM is saturdays only, so no free meters-- in fact pretty rigorously enforced!

                      1. re: soupkitten

                        Thank you, soupkitten, for chiming in that MCFM is only open on Saturdays. I had always understand that to be the case, but when I read foureyes' post about Sundays, I was feeling like a chump for having missed out on all of those Sundays. While I wish it were actually open on Sundays, I'm glad to have it confirmed that I'm not missing out on anything and that, yes indeed, MCFM is only open on Saturdays.

                        So, to sum up:

                        1) Mill City Farmers Market (MCFM) is only open on Saturdays.
                        2) Sea Change is near (i.e., next door'ish in the Guthrie) to the MCFM
                        3) Sea Salt Eatery is across town, Minnehaha Park, pretty much nowhere near MCFM or Sea Change.
                        4) all 3 places are chowworthy
                        5) I continue to be confused about the parking situation (I normally ride my bike to Sea Salt and MCFM...so, it's never been an issue for me personally)


                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          Whoa...have my days been mixed up this year. Whoops.

                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            Parking: As soupkitchen mentioned, meters are on and very strictly enforced. I go to the ramp across from Spoonriver. It says "Event Parking $6 - which turns alot of people off - but in reality they charge by the 1/2 hour. My normal 1 - 1/2 hours at the market runs me $2. It's super easy to get to , into, and out of. Well worth the $2.

                  2. re: kevin47

                    I just got back from Sea Salt. It was quite busy, but it was actually pretty quick. Last year, the place was an absolute nightmare, but they've done a complete 180.

                    I got the crawfish Po Boy, my chowfriends got a soft shell crab sandwich and crab cake basket. Everything was excellent as usual.

                    I'm very encouraged by the increased speed of the counter service.

                  3. Love Love Sea Salt-but will not wait in line for an hour to eat there! Good rule of thumb is to go at an off-peak time (two or three for lunch on a weekend, eating there on a weekday, or an early dinner-fivish seems to work) It may not be such a big deal with the falls dried up this year (sniff)
                    Sometimes I try new things, but then I feel bad because I didn't stick with my standby...fried calamari tacos-yummy yummy, and they have this amazing sauce. I had the shrimp tacos last time I went, and asked for the calamari sauce on it, and they did it for me. It's just kind of a spicy dipping sauce sort of thing, but it goes perfectly on a nice summer day!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jenniegirl

                      JG, when was the last time you were there? I was there yesterday, at ~3pm and the place was full. I got through the line (probably 20 people in front of me) in no more than 10 minutes (they were running two registers) and the food took another 20, give or take. I thought that was more than reasonable for a busy Sunday afternoon and miles ahead of where they were last year.

                      1. re: jenniegirl

                        With the recent rain, the falls are no longer dried up! I walked by there recently and they were roaring away.

                        I am a frequenter of Sea Salt and would agree that it's best to go at off hours if possible. The clam fries, crabcake sandwich and po'boys are perennial favorites; I find the tacos good but a little unexciting.

                      2. Sea Salt generates a lot of heat on the boards. People seem to love it or hate--both sides passionate in their opinions.

                        I think a large part of the gulf between the lovers and haters of Sea Salt comes from how we categorize and compare it to other eating options.

                        For instance, if we compare Sea Salt to the other dining options in pavilions in parks in the Twin Cities, it's the clear triple gold medal winner. However the other options, like the snack bar at Como Park Pavilion will clearly come in second in a two horse race with DQ. And I do not like DQ. This gives rise to a passionate love of Sea Salt, despite their flaws.

                        On the other hand, if we compare Sea Salt to Oceanaire or Sea Change or some other high-end seafood specialty restaurant, Sea Salt doesn't look so good. It's less pleasant to stand in line for long periods of time and the menu is limited by comparison.

                        I think, to be fair, they do a good job for a seafood shack in the Midwest. They offer interesting dishes, reasonably well prepared at decent prices when you consider that all that seafood has to be flown in. Their wine and beer choices are intelligent and their ice cream is local artisan stuff. I find the park setting pleasant in good weather.

                        If we compare it to an east-coast seafood shack, in say Massachussets or Maine, Sea Salt doesn't come out ahead against the better ones. But the price of a round trip plane ticket to the east coast leaves Sea Salt the clear winner for my budget.

                        Overall, I've always enjoyed myself at Sea Salt, even when the dishes aren't all spot-on perfect, they're never horrible (see other park pavilion eating options in the Twin Cities metro).

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                          Good post Jim. I love the place, personally. Yes, it might not compare overall to Sea Change or Oceanaire, but for the price, the quality of the food is quite good. Of course it can't stand up to the East Coast seafood shacks, but the quality and freshness are about as good as could be expected for this area.

                          1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                            My wife and I spent the summer of 92 in Munich Germany. This city has a beautiful large park called the Englischer Garten. It starts near the center of the city and stretches out for several miles along the Isar river. It had great options for food/drink spots in the park. These spots would have large communal picnic type tables where people would rub shoulders and you actually sit next to someone that you had not met before. That is a cool thing in that space is used efficiently and the environment is quite social. Some places would allow you to bring a picnic though of course you buy your beverage there. It was very family friendly too, most spots had a small carousel for the kids, for example.

                            BTW, the food was not "Chowhound" good, just nice quality, freshly made foodl.

                            I always thought that Minnehaha park could use this type of establishment. I think Sea salt is at least a step in the right direction.

                            If there is a nice Biergarten in Minneapolis I don't know about, please post!

                            1. re: dalewest

                              dalewest, I think Sea Salt/Minnehaha Park is exactly what you describe. As a matter of fact, when I went yesterday I ended up having a very pleasant conversation with a woman at the next table with her Australian Shepherd dog while we both waited for our food. She told me she comes there about once a week and enjoys the fish tacos. After she finished she took her dog over to the bandstand to hear the free concert- a flute orchestra. I didn't even realize there was a bandstand there.

                              1. re: faith

                                Dear Faith,
                                I agree it is a super-duper step in the right direction, but nothing matches the efficiency of the Germans when it comes to food and bier delivery systems. For example, I never worried that the biergarten would be too busy but lines at seasalt at popular times in good weather are pretty tough. I wait for bad weather before I go to seasalt for supper .

                                Maybe it is the old Jogi Berra saying "No one goes there any more; it's too crowded."

                                Also the round tables are less conducive to share then big picnic tables.

                                1. re: dalewest

                                  Admittedly I have been there at less busy times. But I will say that having the chat with the woman at the next table certainly took the sting out of the wait for my food. If I had been sitting there looking at my watch, it would have been worse.

                          2. love this place, even tho there is a long line, but it just ramps up the anticipation. here we are at a beautiful old park in the midst of a crowd of: moms, dads, babies, grandparents, couples, families of all stripes and colors, groups of friends, together savoring the beauty of a public park, waterfall, bandstands, bikers, good food and drink. lots of fun and laughter. i took my husband for his first visit on sunday and it was a hit. i went over and ordered a surly bender beer, sipped it as we waited and went over the choices. we then split the oyster po'boy, took a seat on the pavilion near the falls where we could hear the rush of water, had it delivered to our table and with each bite "oh boy, this is so good". feeling pleasantly satisfied, we walked the whole area, remembering the many years we did the "get in gear" race that started at the park, and thought how lucky we are to live here and be able to enjoy this perfect sunday afternoon.

                            if you need dessert, try any of the sebastian joe flavors - we like the old favorites of raspberry choc chip or pavarotti.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: carolita

                              Yes, I would agree that the beautiful park is part of the appeal of Sea Salt. Due to my grilled marlin tacos being charred last time, yesterday I got the cheaper 'fried fish' tacos- I asked what kind of fish those had and was told haddock. Wild fish actually, which makes me happy as I am not too keen on eating farmed fish these days. The tacos were good although the batter coating kind of drowns out the fish flavor. Love their coleslaw, always get a small side and my total was $5 and change!

                            2. the fried oyster po boy was heavenly.