Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler and supported by our underwriter, Bite Squad.
How crazy hot is Martina? A full nine months after the Argentinian-inspired seafood restaurant’s opening, we got reservations for a Monday night and found the place utterly rammed with people and pleasantly buzzing, a constant flow of food, libations, and good cheer filling the dining room. Once seated, we turned our eyes to the menu and found ourselves unable to get past the centerpiece of the appetizers section: an intimidatingly ambitious Chilled Seafood Platter ($60, or $95 for a double-sized version).
At this price point, the onus is on the restaurant to just crush it, and crush it they did: our platter came out loaded with a half dozen oysters and shrimp, smoked bay scallops, two tiny crab claws with carrot mayo, salmon crudo, and tuna tiradito. Indifferently sourced and prepared, this would be a disaster in terms of value, but Martina nailed the execution: the oysters tasted fresh, delicate, and full-flavored; the bay scallops had textural pop and subtle smokey flavor; the shrimp were plump and sweet; and the salmon crudo was a series of delightful little bites. The platter’s star was the tuna tiradito, a sashimi-like preparation that is powerfully enhanced by a deep, abidingly fiery spice rub that adds tremendous interest to the fish without burying it entirely.
On a hot summer night, this is the dish to share with a glass of wine or one of the house cocktails—the kelp wrapped around the massive ice cube of the refreshing Sous Les Mer is a nice echo for the kelp that decorates the border of the platter.
The Dish: The Chilled Seafood Platter, $60; double-sized portion available for $95
The Place: Martina in Minneapolis
The Reason: It’s refreshing, elegant, loaded with flavor, and a ton of fun
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