Seafood Dishes Around Lake Minnetonka

Get a taste of the tropics with our selection of sumptuous seafood dishes.
Pan-seared sea bass from Biella.

This isn’t news to anyone, but our lovely state is smack in the middle of a giant landmass. While we are at least 1,000 miles from any ocean, nearly every day at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, planes arrive with stocks of fresh seafood ready for your lake-area consumption. If you didn’t already know, now’s the time for delicious and plentiful seafood. Read on for several local spots that beckon you to enjoy a taste of the sea.


Pan Seared Sea Bass


Chef Raul Templonuevo is clearly passionate about his cuisine. He loves to cook and he loves working with fish, and so as it should be, the sea bass he prepares is honest and flavorful. The filet itself is simply seasoned, pan fried and finished in the oven—perfectly, mind you. But what makes this dish really special is the French-inspired sauce that brings the whole dish together. He prepares a medley of red potatoes, haricot verts (green beans) and local oyster mushrooms with garlic, a bit of cream, a bit of butter and goat cheese. The thick cut of fish is placed on top and the plate is finished with just the right Spanish olive oil and truffle oil. The green beans are perfectly cooked, the goat cheese brightens the dish with a slight tangy-ness and the truffle oil enhances the earthy flavor of the mushrooms. This is a dish rich in flavor but light on the palate to make sure you want just a bit more. Biella is a restaurant that is not afraid to take chances and will surely impress you on your next visit. $24. 227 Water St., Excelsior; 952.474.8881 


Seared Maine Scallops

Blue Point

If you’ve ever attempted to make scallops at home, you’ve probably failed miserably. (We have!) They seem to adhere to the pan in a super-glue-like fashion; the best bet is to let the professionals make them for you. If you find yourself in the midst of a craving, the scallop appetizer at Blue Point will satiate your hunger for these rich sea treasures. The dish consists of three thick, judiciously seasoned, silver-dollar-sized Maine scallops complete with a nice brown sear. In the middle of the plate, you’ll find a triangle of flash-fried polenta cake with a quarter of a grilled Portobello mushroom cap layered on top. The plate is finished with a veal demi-glace, whose rich, smoky flavor complements the grilled essence of the mushroom. In fact, the demi-glace complemented all the flavors on the plate, from the crispy polenta cake to the delectable scallops. We found ourselves making sure each bite was accented by this thick and flavorful sauce. $14. 739 E. Lake St. Wayzata; 952.475.3636


Salmon & Gnocchi


One of the leading purveyors of fresh fish in the Lake Minnetonka area is Wayzata’s Northcoast restaurant. They order fresh whole fish and carve them in-house to their specifications to bring you the best filets possible. Exhibit A: Their salmon and gnocchi delicacy. It begins with light, handmade potato gnocchi, crispy bacon and asparagus mixed with a mustard beurre blanc sauce. However, the star of the dish is a generous filet of pan-seared salmon placed atop its accompaniments. Skillfully cooked, the fish has a nice thick crust, and the meat is succulent and flaky. The flavor of the salmon pairs nicely with the smoky richness of the bacon, but it doesn’t stop there. The gnocchi are like little treasures that have been lightly browned, which adds a nice texture to the Italian dumpling. A tip for the salmon savvy: Be on the lookout for Copper River salmon this summer. Without it, this is a great dish, but with it, the salmon and gnocchi is brought to new levels of deliciousness. $21. 294 E. Grove Ln., Wayzata; 952.475.4960


Maguro Tartare


It should be no surprise that sushi restaurants have become nearly ubiquitous. Their food is light and fresh, and they are the perfect destination for a group to enjoy a night out. The owners of Origami have been perfecting their trade in the lake area for more than 20 years now. Their sushi chefs source the freshest fish to bring you the best quality and a wide variety of tasty seafood for your meal. For a new and adventurous experience, sit at the sushi bar and order Omakase style, which means, “It’s up to you.” Suggest to the chef a few things you like, anything you don’t like, and a price you would like to pay. The chef will surprise you with a parade of imaginative and beautifully displayed appetizers, sushi, sashimi and nigiri rolls. We tried this on our last visit, spouting off things like “I’m an adventurous eater” and “no mackerel,” and were rewarded handsomely. The highlight of our platter was the Maguro Tartare. The dish consists of raw, chopped tuna mixed with avocado and a spicy marinade. For a fun presentation, the tuna is served in a martini glass with fried wonton chips. We thought it was a great Japanese-style homage to ceviche. $12.95. 12305 Wayzata Blvd., Minnetonka; 952.746.3398


Wood Grilled Ahi Tuna


The ahi tuna entree at Bacio aligns with the theme of many dishes found at the eatery: loads of Italian, Mediterranean and Asian influences. Following the lead of the latter, this dish features a kalbi-marinated, thick cut of high-grade tuna with a Chinese mustard vinaigrette. The plate is artfully presented, as the tuna steak is pre-sliced, topped with scallions and fanned around a large scoop of mashed potatoes. (The potatoes are flavored with wasabi horseradish, which give it a fun, light green color that we loved.) The tuna is quickly seared on all sides, leaving the middle rare and meaty—just the way we like it. We think Bacio’s interpretation of ahi tuna is the perfect marriage of a rich cut of red meat and the healthy benefits of fish. And because it’s grilled over wood and not cooked in a sauté pan, the dish stays light and healthy. The two sauces add interest to the dish: The Korean kalbi marinade provides a tangy sweetness while the Chinese mustard, surrounding the dish like a moat, gives off a nice amount of heat. Rare tuna is always hard for us to resist, and with this incarnation, you can’t miss. $24.95. 1571 Plymouth Rd., Minnetonka; 952.544.7000