Words By Dana Mahr, Photos By Franz Mahr
SEI has a minimalist, artistic vibe. There is a dominate white color scheme and beautiful suggestive portraits. The chairs are laced on their backs with gold rope. I’m telling you this because I really want to mention my favorite part: hundreds of square shell-like wind chimes that danced above us while we ate our meal.
We had bottomless mimosas and wasabi, lemon-grass bloody-mary blends, called Yu Yu Mary. The food options are quite extensive and range from a popular Japanese porridge called Asagayu, to a Crab Cake Benedict and everything in between. Our photographer loved the porridge, but we preferred the crab cake and steak and eggs yet. Cilantro horseradish over a poached egg and miso skirt steak resting on a bed of brown rice makes me wonder why I’ve ever eaten this traditional meal any other way.
The house favorite is the Fish and Chips. It’s a genius blend of soft flounder and potato crisps but it’s not how you’re imagining. It’s a sushi roll with wasabi tartar and malt vinegar. The flounder sits on top of the roll and the potato crisps are sprinkled on top.
For Chef Nori, his favorite dish is his mother’s recipe and his children’s favorite, the 12 Hour Soy French Toast. I found myself indulging in more than what I really should. You know that moment when you’re stomach is full but your mouth wants more just so you don’t have to ever lose the flavor? It was like that. He marinates the bread for 12 hours, hence the name, in soy milk, egg and sugar. It’s like a baguette loaf and it comes to you in three really thick golden slices with a miso maple sauce and a side of seasonal fruit salad: strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, all covered in a yuzu jelly glaze. The fruit salad is a special appeal for me but that yuzu glaze gives it all this Christmas-y sort of flavor. It’s a Japanese sweetgrass with sugar and it has sort of a fresh minty/piney flavor. It was really refreshing and an equal match to the French toast.
Chef Nori told us he hopes to be able to adapt the brunch menu by season. I was already planning on going back for brunch again soon but the idea of new seasonal options coming soon and the opportunity to explore flavors further is a sealed deal. I’m so there.