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Raw Creativity at Seabar

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The Facts

Address: 475 Ellicott St/ Business District / Downtown | (716) 332-2928

Hours: Monday – Thursday 11:30 am – 2:30 pm & 4:30 – 9:30 pm; Friday  11:30 am – 2:30 pm & 4:30 – 10:30 pm; Saturday 4:30 – 10:30

WEBSITE | MENU

 

Seabar’s Sophisticated Menu Impresses

One thing Seabar did not do? Disappoint. Expectations were high from go thanks to several reviews from friends, peeks at the menu, and Mike A’s stellar reputation. The exterior is cool, fresh, urban, the inside modern, clean, fun. The sophisticated menu is impressive, thorough in it’s exploration of Asian cuisine and innovative fusion.

The last time we visited Seabar, it was simply a single room and bar on the left. I recall enjoying the experience, but was pleased with the increased number of funky menu options this time around. The additional dining and bar spaces allow for different variations of the chic atmosphere complete with mood lighting, a bold banquette and plentiful seating options. On a weekday afternoon we sat in the back right corner of the restaurant with half a dozen other hungry parties.

After hearing great things about the Beef on Weck Roll, I was fully on board to try out any unique roll combinations I could find – and didn’t plan on stopping there. (Hey! I was hungry..) Some areas of the menu are nondescript, therefore unless you toss questions to your server, or you’re a Seabar regular, you might be in for a surprise – which is always fun.

We ended up ordering:

  • Beef On Weck Roll ($13) – Rice wrapped in beef carpaccio, stuffed with medium rare strip steak, topped with housemade horseradish mayo, sea salt and caraway seeds.  BRILLIANT! I could eat it all day long. Please do not let the raw beef scare you off. Everything works so nicely together, and adaptation from roast beef sandwich to beef sushi roll is outstanding. 20 points for creativity! This roll alone is worth a trip to Seabar. (The opinion of many)
  • Unagi BLT Handroll ($6.00) – From what I could see and taste, this cone shaped roll for one featured avocado, unagi (eel), diced tomatoes, rice, scallions, sesame seeds, possibly a little yellow pepper and crunchy bacon wrapped in nori (seaweed). The sauce was delicious, bringing everything together. The “BLT” theme worked better than I could have imagined. The salty flavors with avocado & rice worked perfectly. Plus it’s fun to eat.
  • Best Spicy Tuna Roll ($10) – Whole pieces of tuna accompanied cucumber and spicy orange sauce (mayo?). It was delicious and tasted super fresh. I highly recommend all of the above mentioned rolls.

Rolls I’ll be back for:

  • Tempura Creamy Eel ($10) – Eel, Cream Cheese, Sweet Soy
  • Tiger Eye ($10) – Smoke Salmon, Salmon, Hamachi (Pacific yellowtail), Tobiko (Japanese for flying fish roe), Tempura Dipped
  • Lobster ($14) – Avocado, Cucumber, Soy wrap
  • Handroll Trio ($9) – 3 Different Hand Rolls, Shrimp, Crab, Salmon

As if the rolls weren’t enough, we also ordered:

  • Pork Enchiladas ($10) – Red chili sauce, queso, avocado, smothered porky goodness. That description is right from the menu, and smothered porky goodness is confirmed! This was refreshingly simple without lacking flavor, covered in chili sauce and rich queso. The pulled pork was excellent. A hint of barbecue flavor was detected within the warm corn tortillas, topped with avocado and cilantro. Highly recommended if you’re looking for comfort food with an edge.
  • Chirashi-Zushi ($15), scattered seafood bowl. After sifting through fresh fish atop rice, I inquired with the server to learn more about what was included in the assortment – Hamachi, (Pacific yellowtail), crab sticks, small pieces of tamago (type of Japanese Omelette made with eggs), octopus, tuna, salmon, topped with scallions and sesame soy sauce served on the side. It was delicious and quite filling. The seafood was all very pure and made for a beautiful presentation. If you’re interested in enjoying true flavor of raw components individually, this is a great dish. Personally, I prefer to experience combinations of flavor concocted by the chef.  For example, the way the Unagi BLT Handroll comes together. Not that I don’t love untouched pieces of raw seafood, but there is so much creativity throughout Seabar’s menu that begs to be explored.

Not-so-short list for my return:

  • Seafood Tacos ($9.50) – fish, avocado, salsa, corn taco shell
  • Sesame Noodles ($4) – It seemed like everyone around us was eating this and it looked like a great add on.
  • Seabar Oysters with cucumber jalapeño sauce
  • New Style Crudo ($14.75, Dinner Menu) – Sashimi over citrus gel, basil, olive oil & sea salt
  • Lobster Ramen (Dinner Menu) – Handmade Nookdles, Lobster Broth Poached Egg, Shiitakes, Pickled Vegetables
  • Maine Dayboat Scallops (Dinner Menu) – Sweet Corn, Chorizo, Roast Pepper Risotto

They also have 3 lunch combos if you’re interested in trying a few different things including soups, salads and beverages ($12-$14). Plus, there’s a chef’s Sashimi Tasting with “Five fish – five flavors” ($15.95). I’m curious to see what the kitchen comes up with for the “Chef’s Selection.” If you’ve tried it, I would love to hear about your experience in the comments below or an email.

Seabar does an excellent job at offering a unique spread. Our experience went beyond expectations and since leaving we’ve been devising a return trip. I love the fact that you can find quite a few interesting non-seafood dishes sprinkled throughout the menu. It adds a nice balance to the table. A little seafood here, a little pork and cheese there. My advice, try as many things as you can and make the Beef on Weck Roll one of them. You can always take some home you know.

 

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