SEI has been a sleek addition to the famed 7th Street stretch in Penn Quarter for quite some time. With its all white interior and sophisticated menu, it’s no surprise SEI has lived up to the expectations of the trendy foodie. SEI is known for their sushi, but branches out with other additional items, creating a well-rounded dining experience. The restaurant also has a gluten-free menu, which makes dining there as a NOBREADer very convenient…
One of my favorite aspects of SEI is their intriguing cocktail list. On this occasion, I opted for the Painted Lady made with blood orange-infused vodka and passion fruit, and lined with a paprika salt rim. The passion fruit and blood orange melded together nicely, and the paprika was a striking addition to the team. I don’t think I’ve ever had a drink rimmed with paprika salt, but it added an exciting burst of flavor.
SEI’s gluten-free menu is separated into sushi and nigiri rolls, and small plates for sharing. The sushi roll I chose to start my meal off with was the Spicy Salmon Cilantro Roll, composed of fresh salmon, cucumber, and cilantro, as the title suggests. Many restaurants use far too much rice as filler instead of giving you the amount of fish you’re paying for, but SEI is not one of those places. They definitely do not skimp on the fish, and for that, I was grateful. I also ordered the Toro nigiri, also known as fatty tuna belly. Toro is probably one of my favorite cuts of fish out there. It exhibits a fatty, filling quality that tuna isn’t necessarily known for, which is why I love it.
For the small plates, I opted for the Kale Pistachio Salad and Seared Shrimp. The salad was overflowing with kale, red cabbage, spinach, and a savory ginger sesame dressing. The dish also had pieces of pistachio with each bite, which added that crunch I often look for in a salad. The seared shrimp was impeccable. The shrimp were sized well and were encompassed by a lovely coconut sauce with guajillo peppers and peanuts.
Even though I only had a small handful of dishes, SEI is a type of restaurant gluten-free folk should flock to. The menu flaunts at least eight sushi rolls sans gluten, and an additional eight types of fish that can be served as nigiri or sashimi. Their small plate menu is divided into three sections – Garden, Sea, and Meat – which features their fresh produce and impressively sourced fish and proteins.