Dining destination is the second Wayzata restaurant from Sushi Fix owner Billy Tserenbat
Casual, fun and relaxing – these are the adjectives owner Enkhbileg “Billy” Tserenbat wants people to feel as soon as they enter his new Wayzata restaurant Baja Haus.
The seafood-heavy Mexican restaurant, which debuted March 29 in the Wayzata Village Shoppes, is the second restaurant from Tserenbat. His other restaurant, Sushi Fix, opened in 2013 just a few storefronts away, after finding success as a food truck in Minneapolis.
For Baja Haus, Tserenbat partnered with Josh Friedt, the former bar manager for Wayzata’s Blue Point Restaurant.
Sitting in the city’s newest dining destination a week after opening, Tserenbat said the response has been better than expected.
“It’s been really great. We’ve been so busy,” he said, noting that he’s tried to create something not readily found in Minnesota: A seafood-centric, Baja California-style of Mexican food.
“It’s actually coastal Mexican seafood,” Tserenbat said. “The problem is, so many people feel like they know Mexican food, but most of what people know is Tex-Mex. … When you are around the coast in Mexico, what they eat is fish and seafood.”
The 4,000 square-foot restaurant, formerly home to TITLE Boxing Club, can seat more than 70 diners in the dining room and bar area. The restaurant’s turquoise-and-yellow color palette and beachside décor compliment the dishes coming from the kitchen, which includes ceviche, fish tacos, oysters and family-style servings of steak, scallops, tequila lime praws and baja red snapper.
Leading the kitchen as head chef is Zach Schugel, whose resume includes Birch’s on the Lake, CoV and McCormick’s Pub. The young chef got his start as part of the team at Minneapolis hotspot Restaurant Alma.
So far, Tserenbat said his favorite dishes include the crunchy cheese roll and grilled red snapper. Overall, it’s the restaurant’s handmade tortillas and high-quality seafood, which Tserenbat already has plenty of connections to through Sushi Fix, that are fundamental to the Baja Haus menu. At the bar diners will find a mango margarita and plenty of mezcal-infused concoctions.
For inspiration, Tserenbat spent a month traveling through Mexico. It was also Tserenbat’s time in California, where Baja-style Mexican food is popular, that inspired the restaurant. Tserenbat, who was born and raised in Mongolia, came to the U.S. to attend college in San Francisco. It was there he began working as a sushi chef to earn some extra pocket money.
“That’s where everything started,” he said. “I fell in love with seafood.”
Tserenbat later moved to Minneapolis to help with a friend’s business. When that business was bought out, Tserenbat found himself with some extra money and an bold idea: A food truck that sold sushi. The mobile version of Sushi Fix opened in 2012 and quickly gained popularity serving in downtown Minneapolis. In 2013, Tserenbat went brick-and-mortar with Sushi Fix and opened his Wayzata restaurant, which has since doubled in size with an expansion in 2014.
Baja Haus is also a fitting segue from another project by Tserenbat: His food truck Bibuta, which began serving sushi burritos and bowls last year.
Looking forward, the restaurateur said his plans for Baja Haus include opening for lunch, offering unique Brazilian-style cuts of meats and bringing in area celebrity chefs for special pop-up events.
The opening of Baja Haus marks another addition to the hot Lake Street restaurant scene. Gavin Kaysen’s much-anticipated French restaurant Bellecour opened March 15. Before that opening, it was Ryan Burnet’s new Crisp & Green concept. And coming this summer are the planned openings of ninetwentyfive inside Wayzata’s soon-to-open hotel and a not-yet-named breakfast-and-lunch spot in The Promenade.
“I really love that Wayzata is becoming one of the hot food destinations,” Tserenbat said.
Find Baja Haus at 830 Lake St. To look over the menu, visit bajahaus.com/food.
Hours: 4:30-10 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday; 4:30-11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; closed on Mondays.
Contact Jason Jenkins at [email protected]