Photo by Eliesa Johnson
The name of the new Mike DeCamp restaurant in the former Porter & Frye on the ground level of the Ivy Hotel has been announced, and it tips its hat to the make-up of the Italian concept. The name's Monello, which is Italian for sea urchin and DeCamp tells me that’s at least one thing that will be on the menu at all times.
“Everybody likes sea urchin and lardo, right?” DeCamp asks. “They’ll be in the crudo section always. I also really like them cold on top of risotto, where they cook a bit from the heat of the risotto. They’re great with clams, with pork, with meat. I’m working on a marrow and sea urchin dish now. They’re pretty too, and they hurt.” If you step on the spiny shells, that is. If you yourself want to start collecting sea-urchin shells, DeCamp imagines Monello will be able to serve them in the shell at least two or three days a week.
In terms of sustainability, sea urchins are, like most shellfish, the gold standard, as they are able to grow in farms where they clean the water of the little plants that grow in overabundance these days because of agricultural fertilizers that spill into the oceans from all the farms. (Sidenote: If you’re in the mood to poke around the website of a Norweigan sea urchin farm—go!)
Speaking of sustainable seafood, DeCamp and I had a long talk about sustainability, and while he said the restaurant won't necessarily be branded as sustainable, what it serves and cooks will be. Expect clams, yellowtail tuna, and king crab.
“I always feel conflicted about sustainability. Unfortunately, I like eating stuff that is unsustainable, but I also think every time you eat toro it hurts your soul.” So, no, he will not serve bluefin tuna while it’s hurtling to extinction.
What else can we expect from this coming sea urchin hotspot? Jesse Held reports the basement bar will be called Constantine. They're bringing the '80s back! (Stay tuned to Foodie File for more deets.)
Opening date? Still looking like late spring or early summer, though hiring starts next week. If you want to work in these new downtown destinations there will be a hiring fair at Marche next week, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 23-25. They’ll be hiring for all positions, including bartenders, servers, and cooks.
1115 2nd Ave. S., Mpls., 612-353-3500, constantinempls.com