When Patrick Atanalian took over the kitchen at Sanctuary in downtown Minneapolis, it was cause for celebration among the many people who had fallen in love with his cooking at the New French Café and Loring Café years ago. Why the love? The Marseille-born chef has a talent for combining exacting French technique with bold, playful accents, turning out dishes that achieve that most difficult state: original and full of finesse.
Case in point, this seared halibut fillet, accented with a fresh yellow pear tomato and yellow-bell-pepper ratatouille.
The fresh spring flavors are set off by a disk of sweet watermelon, made spicy with a bit of jalapeño oil and made smoky by a brief encounter with hot coals on the grill.
Sanctuary, 903 Washington Ave. S., Mpls., 612-339-5058, sanctuaryminneapolis.com