Crab Cakes at Sea Salt Eatery

Tricia Cornell / Heavy Table

There’s not a whole lot going on in the crab cakes at Sea Salt Eatery. And that’s exactly as it should be. Each forkful is soft and sweet and just the slightest bit briny.

What makes them so good?

Kyle Krueger, a manager at Sea Salt, says, “It’s probably the fact that we use only fresh crab. Also, a heavy amount of butter, which we’re not really shy about.”

Aaron Landry / File Photo / Heavy Table

Sea Salt starts with the claw and back meat from a blue-swimming crab, a smaller species that comes from Asia and Australia. A little cilantro, a little onion, some sea salt, a little panko, and that’s it. “We don’t add too much to our crab cakes,” Krueger says. “We want the crab flavor to come out and so you’re not eating a pile of bread.” A dollop of corn salsa and a little — okay, a very generous — drizzle of mayo, and they’re done.

We were there on opening day and saw several other orders of crab cakes go out, among the mountains of fried shrimp and clams. Most people order them on their own with just a little tangy slaw ($10.95 for one, $18.95 for two). You can get also them on a sandwich, as a sort of po’ boy ($11.95), but slapping these deliciously light and un-bready cakes between two pieces of bread seems to miss the point.

(By the way, a perfect side dish with the soft and sweet crab cakes is a basket of crunchy, salty clam fries, $9.95, below.)

Tricia Cornell / Heavy Table

Krueger and his team make between 50 and 200 crab cakes a day, which means… quick calculation… they’ve got as many as 36,000 to go before that sad day in October when Sea Salt closes again.

Sea Salt Eatery
Seafood in Longfellow

4801 Minnehaha Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55417
612.721.8990
OWNERS: John Blood and Chris Weglinski
HOURS:
Open April through October
Daily 11am-8pm
BAR: Wine and beer
RESERVATIONS / RECOMMENDED?: No
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / No
ENTREE RANGE: $5-19

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About the Author

Tricia Cornell

Tricia has been called the mother of “world-class veggie eaters” in the Star Tribune (that is patently untrue) and an “industrious home cook” in the New York Times (true, but was it a compliment?). She loves Brussels sprouts, hates squash, and would choose salty and sour flavors over sweet just about any day. She is the author of Eat More Vegetables, published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press in 2012, and The Minnesota Farmers Market Cookbook, published by Voyageur Press in 2014.

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7 Comments

  1. Ahh yes, the agony and the ecstasy that is Sea Salt. Delicious food, wonderful setting. 45 minutes in line, then another 45 minutes for your food.

    The place is really a victim of it’s own success, with food output that is limited by the size of their kitchen. (either by design or by error).

  2. One thing to do on busy days is to first go to the non-existent/short drink line, buy a beer/beverage, and then drink that beer/beverage in the regular line while you wait. Then get a second drink (assuming your first is now empty) when you order food.

  3. I put Sea Salt into the small category of restaurants for which I will happily wait in line (Travail is in the group, too). And who could ask for a better atmosphere in which to do the waiting! Friendly people, music, dogs, kids, waterfalls, beer and wine. The best way to spend an evening I can think of.

  4. Ah, which is it?

    You say, crab and “a little cilantro, a little onion, some sea salt, a little panko, and that’s it.” But a little later, “A dollop of corn salsa and a little — okay, a very generous — drizzle of mayo, and they’re done.”

    One is crab cake with virtually no fillers, the other is something else entirely. Which is it?

  5. Author

    Martin, the first is what’s inside. The second is what’s on top.

  6. SeaSalt is a place I’ve learned how to time well…i.e. take off work early and beat the rush!

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