When Carl Wong sold the Seafood Palace on Nicollet Ave. three years ago, he signed a non-compete agreement that barred him from operating a food business within seven miles of Eat Street. The agreement expired last summer, and the veteran restaurateur is getting back in the business. Wong opened a small seafood market and sushi shop called Sea Port Market in the Midtown Global Market a few weeks ago (in the space formerly occupied by the Republic of Fish), and he plans to open Jade, a new full-service Chinese restaurant and sushi bar by early April, in the MGM space formerly occupied by Chang Bang. Both businesses will share a sushi chef, Tony Sin, who previously worked at Crave in the Galleria.
Wong says Sea Port caters to both Asian and Western customers. Western customers like their fish already filleted and ready to cook – and the Sea Port will usually have a selection on hand, ranging from grouper and lemon sole to tilapia and tuna. Asian customers prefer their seafood really, really fresh – as in, alive and swimming. The selection varies depending on what’s in season, but the live tanks at Sea Port can be stocked with everything from live Dungeness, stone crab and oysters to shrimp, lobster and geoducks. If you prefer, you can buy a Dungeness crab cooked to order ($7.95 a pound) and have it cooked to order in eight to ten minutes.
The menu at Jade will be a combination of traditional Cantonese and Szechuan dishes, sushi, and some more contemporary Asian fusion dishes like salmon with asparagus, or charcoal grilled steak with mixed Asian vegetables. A buffet will be offered at lunch time, and Wong hopes to also start serving dim sum, as soon as he can located a good dim sum chef – hopefully by Mothers’ Day.