Food has never seemed more theatrical than at last month's premiere of Sea Change, the Guthrie's new restaurant.

Chef Tim McKee, who recently became the first chef from Minnesota to win a prestigious James Beard Award, lifted the curtain on the former Cue to a crowd of actors, elites and theatergoers.

"The food was the easiest part," said McKee, who created the menu to honor sustainable seafood. "I'm most excited about the whole raw-bar aspect of the menu -- oysters, but with more of an Italian crudo [sashimi]."

He also noted that the Minneapolis restaurant gets its name from a line in William Shakespeare's "The Tempest."

Perfectly staged small plates with samples of the restaurant's food practically danced on trays around the packed room, redone in an appropriately beachy green.

Guthrie director Joe Dowling said he had already eaten there twice with his wife and was a fan of the beet salad. "We're going to be regulars," he said.

Veteran Guthrie actor Peter Michael Goetz, a former Minnesotan known nationally for his role in the "Father of the Bride" movies, will play Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol" for the holiday season. He's currently in "When We Are Married," and got some advice from partygoer Judge Ron Abrams, who performs a lot of weddings.

Everybody at the event agreed: Sea Change is ready for the main stage.

Sara Glassman • 612-673-7177