Fish is often considered the red-headed stepchild of the big three entrée meats. Unlike chicken, it doesn’t go well with everything. It can’t be as quickly and conveniently obtained as beef. As land-locked Minnesotans (Lake Superior notwithstanding), fresh seafood has to travel far to reach our plates, leaving us to resort to preservative-heavy options like lutefisk, definitely an acquired taste. Lock up the lye and dive into these modern dishes. We have samplings ranging from the Minnesota favorite, walleye, to the most exotic sushi rolls you could possibly imagine. Drop in your line and enjoy.
Cooper Fish & Chips
Fish and chips is a classic dish that has stood the test of time. This 1800s working-class staple slowly made its way around the United Kingdom, landing in Ireland just after the Great Famine. Cooper Pub pays its respects to this dish with a steaming serving of North Atlantic cod ($11.99) the walleye ($14.99). Served with a generous helping of French fries, this dish brings a bit of the Ould Sod to Minnesota.
1607 Park Place Blvd.
Miso-Glazed Sea Bass
Mill Valley Kitchen
The mission of Mill Valley Kitchen is to create an environment featuring delicious food that encourages a healthy and active lifestyle. In keeping with the vibrant spirit of Northern California’s coastal town, chef de cuisine Jourdan Morris continues the legacy of MVK’s most popular seafood dish. Marinated in a house-made miso glaze, the bass retains its delicious salty flavor. The dish includes a crisp cucumber salad of fresh carrots, cucumbers and radishes, all tossed with a sweet-and-sour marinade. Ginger-shiitake quinoa surrounds the fish to create a dish of complete protein ($27). People love it so much, Morris says, “we would get in trouble if we took it off the menu.”
3906 Excelsior Blvd.
Walleye Reuben Sandwich
Kip’s Authentic Irish Pub
Kip’s has always been at the forefront of fresh ideas and flavorful innovation. One of their tastier fusion dishes combines a pub sandwich favorite with the coveted catch of the Great Lakes. The walleye Reuben brings together the flavors of a fresh walleye fillet, coleslaw and the perfect amount of Thousand Island dressing to make the catch of the day truly flavorful ($14). Looking for fewer calories? Ask for just the walleye.
9970 Wayzata Blvd.
Grilled Mahi Mahi
Crave at the West End has become a one-stop fish destination for the Park, offering everything from fresh walleye and salmon to sushi. We decided to sample their grilled mahi mahi, a deluxe offering fit for beach bums and winter recluses alike. Mahi mahi means “very strong” in Hawaiian, and this delicious offering is served with a tangy mango salsa, toasted couscous and grilled asparagus that is filled with flavor as well as nutrients ($24.95). Executive chef Amber Severtson calls it a “very popular dish that still has summer flair.” Interested in something lighter? The Mexican specialty sushi roll is a delicious twist of tuna, escolar, fresh avocado and cilantro, spicy mayo, soy citrus sauce, and a bit of jalapeño for some extra zip ($17.95). With sushi offerings ranging from the eclectic Mexican roll to the traditional California roll, Crave has a little something for every sushi fanatic.
1603 West End Blvd.
This Cajun catfish is a perfect stand-in for the traditional fish taco. Executive chef Dave Olson says that he inherited the catfish taco recipe, and he delights in continuing this unique tradition. These feline fish are blackened to perfection with a Cajun seasoning and served with fresh avocado and cheddar and pepper jack cheeses for a contemporary take on a Southern delicacy ($8.95).
3401 Louisiana Ave. S.
Raku Sushi & Lounge
The votes have been counted, and Raku Sushi & Lounge in the West End takes the title for best-named sushi dishes. There’s the Black Pearl, Captain Crunch, the Playboy and the Raku Roll-ah. We decided to live large and sample the Playboy roll. Shrimp tempura and spicy tuna are rolled up with fresh asparagus, topped with sushi shrimp, eel sauce and Sriracha mayo to create a red-hot slice of raw fish ($16). Did we mention it comes to your table on fire? That’s right. A douse of 151 rum (which has more than 75 percent alcohol content) around a tinfoil wrap is ignited to immediately transform your night out into a spectacle that would make the chefs at Benihana applaud. The Raku-roll-ah is a delightful alternative, with spicy tuna and crabmeat in a delicious cocoon topped with avocado, mosago, scallion, eel sauce and wasabi mayo ($17). The flavor is as great as the name.
5371 W. 16th St.