I love autumn. I’m sure this will be a common chorus for the Minneapolites as we transition from summer into fall, but I’ll be the first to say it — fall is my favorite season. As the weather turns cooler, it brings about many glorious pleasures; long fall walks through crunchy, colorful leaves, warm spiced beverages, and holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving. However, my most favorite element of fall is the food. There’s nothing better than sitting on a patio, layered in a hoodie and light jacket, eating warm, hearty fare, and enjoying the last throes of summer.
Sea Salt — located next to Minnehaha Falls — has been serving up delectable, hearty portions of fresh, Cajun-style seafood since 2006. After the first time Derek and I visited in 2010, we were hooked. Since we live a mere mile away, Sea Salt has become a neighborhood hangout for us. This is where Sea Salt fits perfectly into my autumn cravings — fall walk and hearty food? Done and done.
It was a cool evening and we started out around 6:30. We leisurely strolled down the walking path along Minnehaha Creek and contemplated what we wanted to eat. Should we stick with the Fried Crawfish Po-boy, an old favorite? Or maybe stay simple with the Crabcake Basket? How about one of the daily specials that always sound so delicious? We kept walking and decided to figure it out when we got there.
We reached our destination and found the line short and easily navigable. This is another cool-weather bonus — the short line. In the summertime, the wait can be up to 2 hours long on a busy night, but thankfully, once the weather cools off, so do the crowds. Derek scanned the menu and decided to stick with our favorite — the Fried Crawfish Po’boy. Then he wandered off with Boss to find a seat while I got into line. It was moving quickly so I had to decide fast. I usually stick with something on the main menu that I’m familiar with, but this time, one of the daily specials caught my eye.
Catfish Pontchartrain. Named after the gigantic lake you must cross to get into New Orleans, this dish sounded fantastic. A piece of catfish — grilled or fried — smothered in étouffée with red beans and rice with a side of shrimp remoulade salad. WOW. Reading the description made my decision easy. I made it up to the counter, put in our order, paid, got our number, and went to find Derek.
Another spot to check out while you’re visiting Sea Salt — Minnehaha Falls! They’re literally out the door and it makes for a fun way to spend a few minutes as you wait for your meal.
We found a seat out on the patio and Derek went inside to get drinks. Sea Salt serves up several local brews including Surly and Schell’s. He came back out grinning from ear-to-ear with a pitcher of Schell’s Oktoberfest ($15)– it’s one of his favorite seasonal beers and this was the first he’d seen it this season! We settled in to wait and listened to the live music being played a few feet away. Most weeknights, Sea Salt has local musicians serenade their guests out on the patio. It adds to that neighborhood feel.
Finally our food arrived and we dug in. In case you’ve never been to Sea Salt, here’s a tip — pay attention when a server walks out the door with a tray full of food. If it’s yours, they will holler your name and look for your number. If you want your food hot, be ready to respond! The Crawfish Po’boy ($10.95) was stellar as usual — the crawfish are coated in a seasoned cornmeal batter and deep-fried, then stuffed into a huge hoagie bun with lettuce, tomato, and a spicy sauce. It comes served with a side of coleslaw that looks pretty, but is mostly bland.
The Catfish Pontchartrain ($14.95) really stole the show. It started with a catfish fillet — grilled or fried — that is smothered in étouffée with red beans and rice, with a side of shrimp remoulade salad. It was scrumptious — the catfish was blackened to perfection and the red beans and rice topped with the étouffée was hearty and well-seasoned, but not too filling. The only lackluster part? The salad. Flavor-wise, it wasn’t up to the same standard as the other half of the meal.
We ate our fill and sipped our beers as we listened to some old-timey rock and relaxed in the twilight. It was such a lovely evening. You’ve gotta hand it to them — their patio is pretty fantastic. Looking for a scenic fall walk and a great meal? Get to Sea Salt Eatery before they shut their doors for the winter.
They have a great casual, neighborhood-type vibe.
Service has been hit or miss for us at times. Generally, it’s pretty solid.
For being piled into a basket, it always looks darn appetizing.
Our main courses were delicious (and always are), but the salad-type sides were a bit lackluster.
Value for Dollars
It can get to be a bit on the spendy side (we spend upwards of $40 for two) and they don’t have any deals, but it’s a great destination spot for a casual date or night out.
But don’t take my word for it:
Sea Salt Eatery