Despite the drastic temperature shift, Billy Tserenbat was thrilled to move from San Francisco to Minnesota more than 10 years ago.
“Cold makes us better people,” he said.
But he did find culture shock in one area: He couldn’t find any good California Baja-style Mexican food in his new home.
“Everywhere you go, it’s like Tex-Mex,” Tserenbat said of Minnesota. “I need to eat some good fish tacos. So I thought ‘Well, I’ll do it myself.’ ”
Tserenbat had already been bitten by the restaurant bug. Three years ago, he opened the popular Sushi Fix (862 Lake St. E., 952-473-1364, sushifix.net) in downtown Wayzata. Last year, he launched Bibuta (eatbibuta.com), a food truck that specializes in sushi-burrito hybrids. Now, he’s diving further into Mexican themes at 830 Lake St. E. in Wayzata next month, aiming to open Baja Haus (bajahaus.com) nine doors down from Sushi Fix.
“It will be a whole new kind of Mexican,” he said.
Making use of the top-notch seafood suppliers he uses for Sushi Fix, Tserenbat envisions Baja Haus as a primarily seafood-based restaurant specializing in shareable dishes. Expect some larger entrees — Mexican-style chicken, steak and a whole fish preparation, for example — along with a multitude of tacos.
Recently, Tserenbat spent time in Mexico studying tortilla-making, the country’s cuisine and touring tequila and mezcal distilleries. He plans to have sizable selections of both spirits at Baja Haus, as well as a cocktail program.
“If people want raw fish, they can go to Sushi Fix,” he said. “If they want cooked fish, they can go to Baja Haus.”