Nordo’s odd coupling of an oceanic musical production, “Bounty! An Epic Adventure in Seafood,” with a five-course sustainable seafood dinner is the group’s second, largely successful, venture into the world of dinner theater.
The theater aspect of the production — tables are set in a makeshift ship in which vivacious sailors go from hoisting sails to serving food — involves stowaways and evolution, scorned lovers and global warming. The resulting plot is a bit haphazard, but quite complements the food, the true star of the production.
Each course is coupled with chronological information about the sea and sustainability, starting with oysters and ending with Baked Alaska, and experiments both with flavor and what its clientele are willing to eat.
Take geoducks. If you Google this mollusk, the phallic results might make you think you accidentally turned off safe search. At Nordo, it came both raw and cooked in a seaweed salad. Our hosts tried to obscure the geoduck’s unfortunate appearance by having what looked like a dog’s ghost shuffle about humorously while we ate. In the end, the sake vinaigrette, ginger, fennel, and Pink Lady apple chunks complimented the geoduck so well we forget what it looked like anyway.
I had only two quibbles with the production.
At one point, the ship-wrecked crew waxes on about the exploitation of the ocean, painting the sea as a woman wronged and taken for granted. Their heartfelt ode did nothing but make me want to hand the ocean my drink. If eco-plays are to have any kind of a future, they must drop the outdated habit of female personification. How many plays featuring Mother Nature as a cast member could you stomach?
Second, Nordo’s prices are quite limiting. At $79 for Thursdays and $89 for Fridays and Saturdays, only the wealthiest can afford to show their support for sustainable seafood.
But it’s hard to complain, given the incredible cuisine and painstaking attention paid to sustainability. (Our raw oysters’ shells were recycled back into the sea after the show.)
And with the BP oil spill swirling in the back of my mind, along with the rough shape of oceanic ecosystems in general, I couldn’t help but wonder if this were the future of seafood. Will we be left with the sea’s hardiest creatures at even tougher-to-swallow prices? Will Alaska indeed end up baked?
If so, we’ll need of plenty of booze to wash it all down.
“Bounty! An Epic Adventure in Seafood” runs on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays through June 19.