The mammoth restaurant at 700 Hennepin Av. S. is keeping its name and its basic cuisine identity, but from there — beginning this weekend — change is in the air for Seven Steakhouse, Sushi and Rooftop (7mpls.com).
After coming on board as culinary director earlier this year, Sameh Wadi — the chef behind World Street Kitchen, Milkjam Creamery and the former Saffron — will unveil his revamped concept and menus in the renovated space on Friday.
“Everything I do has to be cohesive,” said Wadi, who was approached by owners Ken Sherman and Ro Shirole after they bought the restaurant in January. “If I’m going to do a project, I need to think about all of it. To me, the space never felt like the food — there was always a disconnect between the two. I wanted the food to be the voice.”
What that voice is saying might be similar, but the tone, now, is different. Modern light fixtures and a bar top featuring 17,000 hand-placed marbles give the space a fresh look.
While Seven’s menu will keep the basic composition of a steakhouse — appetizers, soups, salads and big cuts of meat — along with sushi, Wadi has shaken up everything from the vendors to the beef-aging philosophies. For example, an 8-ounce sirloin will be given New York strip-esque treatment, aged for a minimum of 40 days. The oft-overlooked cut, Wadi says, is his favorite on the list.
Wadi’s first-ever burger, a single smashed patty modeled after the Matt’s Bar standard, gets smothered with two cheeses and carmelized onions. Classic dishes also get upgrades: There are Goldfish crackers in the mac and cheese, Champagne in the potato soup, duck meat in the buffalo nuggets.
And the sushi? “We’re going a little more exciting,” Wadi said. That means globally inspired takes and names like “baller”: nigiri with king crab, caviar and — yep — a gold flake.
“Finally, I get to put some olive oil on sushi,” Wadi said, with a laugh. “People are looking at me like I’m crazy.”
Renovations for the mezzanine level, sushi bar and former ultralounge — Wadi & Co. are removing that term and transforming it into private dining — are up next for the 40,000-square-foot building. Meanwhile, work on the rooftop has already begun, with a wooden pergola and new tables in place.