Ann Kim's hotly anticipated new restaurant, which blends food from the chef's Korean heritage and home into something new and exciting, is now open. Kim's takes the place of her just-closed Sooki & Mimi restaurant and has a menu that might be the celebrated chef's most personal yet.
When announcing the restaurant change this summer, Kim told the Star Tribune: "My palate comes from parents who came here in the '70s. In some ways the people who came here, their Korean has been preserved. Also, raised in the Midwest you're having to make do with what you can, because ingredients are hard to source."
The result is Kim's, with a menu that has classic Korean dishes like bibimbap, and highly seasoned French fries with a lemongrass-spiked special sauce.
The room received a light refresh, while Kim and her staff have been hard behind the scenes changing the service and the food. During a practice dinner for friends and family, Kim walked the dining room as plates were being cleared, saying, "We're really excited to get to have people in here. My staff has been working so hard to make this happen."
It was a dramatic change from Sooki & Mimi's birria taco to a menu filled with items that blend Korean and American comfort food — some even on one plate. The rice cakes and cheese, or tteokbokki, is a chewy Korean rice cake tossed in a rich and creamy cheese sauce and topped with buttery panko breadcrumbs, like a best-of-both-worlds mac and cheese.
Dishes available include snacks ($5-$13), plates and bowls ($15 to $28 for a hanger steak), sammies ($11), and banchan ($5-$6), the Korean array of small sides for sharing that amp up dinner — like Kim's beloved kimchi that we first got to know on her pizzas.
Kim's is the chef's fourth restaurant. She has Pizzeria Lola in Minneapolis, Hello Pizza in Edina and Young Joni in northeast Minneapolis. Through each restaurant, and her 2019 James Beard Award win, flavors from her family's Korean kitchen have slowly edged onto the menus. The Lady Zaza pizza is topped with gochujang and that spicy-pickly kimchi. Hello Pizza opened with a Korean Cowboy meatball sub that has since left the menu. At Young Joni she dove deeper into the flavors, even hosting a recent pop-up that further explored the flavors she grew up with. And it all culminates with this restaurant.
Kim's, a no-tipping restaurant, doesn't take reservations, and is open daily from 5 to 10 p.m. Bronto Bar, the subterranean drink spot below Kim's, will be open Thursday through Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m. Bronto Bar won't take reservations, either.