Chef Patrick Scot Moore intends to challenge the taste buds of Twin Ports residents with his new eatery, Sound, which will hold an official grand opening Tuesday, Jan. 9. The chef-driven restaurant is housed on the main level of Duluth’s Old City Hall building at 132 E. Superior St.
Moore has extensive culinary training. He was the first non-French speaker to graduate from Ecole des Arts Culinaires et de l’Hotellierie in Lyon, France. After that he went on to work in Michelin-star restaurants in France and Nantucket. He has cooked for celebrities and dignitaries — from Madonna to the king and queen of Sweden.
The chef initially moved to Duluth to help open up Silo’s Restaurant at Pier B Resort but has always wanted to open his own establishment. Sound promises to fuse Moore’s travel and culinary expertise into an experience for intrepid area eaters.
The restaurant will feature small plates with a conscious emphasis on sustainably-sourced seafood and meats, including game. The plan is to feature “simple, phenomenal products, done clean,” says Moore. “The key part with me is just super healthy, not more than five ingredients — and real.”
Cautious consumers will appreciate that burgers and steak grace the menu. But don’t expect ordinary. Sound’s initial menu includes Wagyu beef as well as lamb, tuna and wild boar burgers with any number of nontraditional fixings. Burgers range from $13-25. The priciest features decadent toppings such as black truffle, foie gras, Comté cheese and chanterelles.
The menu includes inspired sandwiches and sausages for $12. Upon opening, it will include a vegetarian banh mi with plant-based pâté and a smoked elk brat with huckleberry chutney, caramelized leeks and arugula.
The restaurant highlights seafood options such as langoustine and dungeness crab and will include a raw bar. The menu features ingredients that might be unfamiliar to diners, like monchong, a Hawaiian fish that Moore says is vastly underrated.
“For me it’s all about challenging the flavor profiles of what we’re used to in Northern Minnesota — and hopefully helping people be adventurous,” says Moore.
Sound will employ molecular gastronomy techniques. Moore has a master’s degree in organic chemistry and notes that organic chemistry and food have many parallels. “The menu is written so it doesn’t scare people away, but when the plates come out you’re going to see a lot of science coming out through the food.”
Sound staff will be trained to help diners decipher the menu and choose plates. Once the restaurant has been open for a month or two, the menu will likely change each week. “It will be an ever-changing menu. One thing about me and food is I get bored cooking the same things all the time,” says Moore.
Customers can expect cocktails and local draft beer as well as a unique wine list. “I told all my vendors, ‘If any of these wines are on any other restaurant menu in town, I don’t want them’,” says Moore.
Sound will open with a kitchen staff of six, 10 servers and six bartenders. Moore intends to do much of the cooking. “If I’m not cooking a plate I’ll be talking to the people that are coming here. So I’ll pretty much touch every table or every plate that’s coming out.”
Though the cuisine trends toward upscale, the prices aren’t out of line. Moore says he noticed one of the main aspects of dining missing in Duluth was the ability to get small plates. He designed the menu so that it’s possible to get a small plate and a beer for 20 bucks.
The restaurant falls within Duluth’s recently established Historic Arts and Theater district. The NorShor Theater’s reopening is one of the major reasons Moore chose this particular space for a restaurant. He expects it will provide a great customer base.
Moore is the front man for the business. His domestic partner Alison Underthun, who grew up in Duluth, is the owner. They are leasing the space from Just Take Action, parent company for Fitger’s Brewhouse, Burrito Union, Endion Station Public House and the Rathskeller. Just Take Action previously operated restaurants in the Old City Hall space — the Blind Pig and Tycoons Alehouse.
Patrons of the Rathskeller (located in the basement of 132 E. Superior St.) will eventually be able to order food from Sound. Moore also anticipates catering for the event space upstairs and plans to utilize it for events of his own featuring food and beer, spirits or wine pairings.
Sound will also serve as an intimate venue to see internationally acclaimed artists, something Moore noticed was lacking in Duluth. The grand opening night will feature music by G Love. Moore anticipates doing four to ten bigger shows each month with touring musicians. He’s also considering doing a few “mellow” happy hour shows each month with local musicians.
Though Sound will also serve as a music venue, its name has nothing to do with auditory impressions. Moore spent much of his childhood in Northern Ireland and notes that “sound” is commonly used there as a descriptor for something “really good.”
Moore added the tagline “Gather. Nourish. Inspire.” He admits some may find the name perplexing but likes the idea of a one word moniker. “I think it’s also kind of a weird business decision to not give everyone exactly what they want. But we’re trying to open peoples’ minds a little bit … This whole thing is trying to push the envelope in Duluth a little bit.”
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