Potato soup with Fine Herbes
Linguini with clams, rock shrimp, tomato, oregano and garlic
You don’t get much (i.e. any) choice on Sea Change’s lunch menu, but then it’s hard to argue when presented with the opportunity to sit for a $10 lunch in such a venue. Equally, as I suppose a reasonable person would anticipate, a bargain meal like this is unlikely to showcase much of the kitchen’s aptitude and, in my dotage, my flagging capacity for reasonableness is apparently becoming a problem.
We were the first lunchers in the door at 11:30 and seemingly caught the staff still in final prep. A freak clash of acute Minnesotaness both kept us from advancing far enough into the restaurant to find the host’s table (other side of the bar) and the timid hostess from signaling her location, so as to rescue us from dithering at the door. Once seated, things improved. Our server had that somewhat annoyingly placatory speaking tone that one tends to develop when one spends her days catering to easily wronged, demanding rich people who get no greater joy in life than uttering the words “I want to speak to your manager”. However, she was also achingly cute (Pacific Islander complexion – humuna humuna), in fact “too cute” according to the female half of the table, but she was all eyes, checking our water/iced tea levels seemingly every 60 seconds for the duration of the meal, so the male half of the table forgave her appeasing mannerisms.
Our chilled potato soup arrived quickly, with the unadvertised flourish of a couple baby clams and a sprinkling of roe. It was smoky, reminiscent of bacon, and thick, but otherwise minimalist and rather unexciting, even after I thoroughly showered it with ground black pepper. It was undeniably an interesting take on potato soup, but we were both generally underwhelmed. Though pureeing potatoes for a popular lunch special is the modern equivalent to shucking enough corn for 50 hungry cowboys, there was a distinct feeling that it had been absentmindedly slopped together in between vastly more important kitchen responsibilities and/or half watching last night’s Tivo-ed “The Biggest Loser”.
The boredom of the soup was exacerbated by the prolonged interval between courses, but when it finally arrived I found the linguini to be a satisfactory recovery. I loved that it was light, just the right portion, and the clams and rock shrimp weren’t overpowering. The tomato, oregano and garlic in oil was done in classic Italian simplicity. My companion was less enthused, offering that the dish was of the caliber that any kitchen hack could whip up at home in under 12 minutes (though, obviously, with substandard ingredients).
Allowing for the crabby, debatably over-fed quotient at the table, in the grand scheme the meal was merely just fine. Maybe something approximating a good deal if it were a regular lunch special, but it felt like a feeble effort for Restaurant Week (much like this whole review).
I’m awarding this lunch 2 and 1/2 “Oh Gods” out of five.
The fixed price lunch is $10.
Sea Change’s full Restaurant Week lunch and dinner menus are posted here.