My favorite summer place. Sea Salt Eatery is just a quick 2.5 mile bike ride away and as any patron has noticed, one of the best spots to eat, drink, and relax in Minneapolis. Even at peak times when the line is long and your tummy is grumbling, you can’t be mad about the wait because the food is totally worth it.
This past winter Sea Salt made a much needed remodel. A larger kitchen area to accommodate the crowds and a slightly larger patio area with upgraded seating nestled between the restaurant and the falls. The place looks great! Grab a beer while you stand in line, salivate over other orders that are coming out and change your mind on what you are going to get about 5 times, order, peruse the hot sauce selection (always grab 3 or 4 for your table, gotta have variety!), then sit and relax with another beer with giddy anticipation of your name or number being called out while you hear the rushing of the falls nearby.
This post has been a long time coming because I was trying to try all of the taco offerings before giving my review. Sea Salt offers Fried Fish Tacos, Calamari Tacos, Sauteed Shrimp Tacos, Grilled Mahi Mahi tacos, Bay Scallop Tacos, and Grilled Veggie Tacos. I am going to admit right away that I knew I was never going to get to the Veggie Taco. Sorry for all of you vegetarian readers out there, I am just not going to waste my taste buds on veggies when there are so many good fish options on the menu. And I never got to the Mahi Mahi tacos this year, it was a crazy summer and my afternoons spent relaxing in a hammock listening to the falls took a severe hit.
Let’s review the tacos first shall we?
Fried Fish Taco: These were tacos 122 and 123 this year. Two tacos with a huge hunk of fried haddock on a corn tortilla and a slight drizzling of a thick salsa. I’m amazed at how delightfully flaky the fish is, even after being deep fried. The inside is flaky not soggy and the fried breading has a good crunch without any extra oil. A really well done hunk of joy! A definite 5 out of 5 fish taco! (in all actuality these are a 6 out of 5 because I crave them pretty much all the time)
Shrimp Taco: Tacos number 153 and 154. Sort of a disappointment. With only 3 little shrimps and too much tortilla and cilantro these tacos were incredibly lackluster. In fact, I think it’s the only thing I’ve encountered at Sea Salt that hasn’t been very good. There is just no balance to this taco. Sub out the thick and heavier red house salsa for the corn salsa and a Louisiana style hot sauce and these would be much improved. Also, shrimp is relatively cheap, throw a couple more of those bad boys on the ’tilla and it won’t break the bank. Even some slaw under the shrimp for some more substance would be welcome. A disappointing 2 out of 5.
Fried Calamari Taco: Tacos number 204 and 205 this summer. At the bottom of this post I rate just the calamari. In short, the calamari is the perfect ratio of crisp breading to chewy octopus. It is one of my favorite menu items at Sea Salt, hands down. This taco takes the calamari appetizer and puts it in a taco. The dipping sauce is drizzled on and corn salsa added to round out a couple of hearty tacos. Here is another 5 out of 5 taco for the Sea Salt repertoire! (as with the fish taco, I’d really give it a 6 out of 5 but I have a feeling some readers would get irked about me not following my scaling system).
Fried Bay Scallop Tacos: These tacos came in at number 231 and 232 this summer. A nice trip with my seester and 1 month old niece to Minnehaha Falls is only complete with a late lunch of sea food goodness. I had the scallop tacos and my sister had the always popular fried fish basket. The scallop tacos were decent. Messy to eat and a touch on the soggy side however. Not sure if the sogginess was from poor frying technique or from the salsa soaking through the breading. These had the same toppings as the calamari tacos so I would choose calamari over the scallops any day. But these tacos still earn a delightful 4 out of 5.
All in all I give Sea Salt Eatery a 5 out of 5 on the taco front. While not all the tacos were perfect, there are enough items on the menu that are perfect to easily make up for a miss here or there. You also cannot go wrong with the atmosphere- outside dining next to a waterfall in the heart of the Twin Cities! How many metropolitan areas can say they have a waterfall within city limits?
Because I frequent here so often, I want to offer a few other reviews
Calamari: (see the fried fish taco photo and there is a photo of the calamari also) This is a go to for me and Chadd. No matter how hungry we are, we have to get a basket. On Cinco de Mayo after I ate TWELVE FREAKING TACOS and he and a friend at a meal also, we still came here for a beverage and got the calamari basket. I still managed to eat a few hunks even though I felt like my stomach was going to explode. THAT’S HOW GOOD THIS DISH IS PEOPLE! A huge plate of the breaded and fried little octopi with a pleasant dipping sauce of what I think it a slightly spicy aioli. Not even the slightest hint of rubbery texture that you often get with bad calamari, these little bite sized treats just have to get demolished before the rest of our order. If I don’t ignore the rest of my meal and eat my share of these curly fish first then I don’t get any. Gotta be quick!
Fried Fish Po Boy: The same famous hunk of fried fish as the basket and tacos, this time featured on a nice french style roll with some corn salsa, lettuce, and mayo. Messy to eat yet very filling and delicious! I bet the catfish option would be fantastic as well!
Crab Stuffed Avocado with Tortilla Chips: This was actually the first item I ever got from Sea Salt. I was halfway through a bike ride and was hungry but didn’t want to be bogged down by fried food or a meal that was too filling. It was the perfect choice. The crab and avocado were savory and well balanced. The tortilla chips were homemade, thick and lightly salted. This would be a great snack if you aren’t too hungry.
Louisiana Red Beans and Rice with Andouille and Ham Shank: It sounds heavy but even on a hot day you should order this. Red beans and rice has quickly become one of my favorite meals and a go to since it is so delicious and easy. This version is ultra savory since it has 2 kinds of meat! This is one of the few menu items Sea Salt has that does not feature seafood so even if you are not a seafood person (and I don’t know how you couldn’t be, especially from this place) have no fear, you can still find a menu item that will be satisfying. Oh, and it’s gluten free for those of you with dietary restrictions.