BEST PLACE TO EAT OUT WITH YOUR KIDS Minneapolis 2000 - Big Bowl
In recent years this category has been judged solely on the basis of what kids like. Those of us who are parents, however, know an entirely different set of criteria can--and should--come into play when considering where to strap on the family feedbag in public. Which brings us (again and again) to Big Bowl. Cuisinewise, good Asian restaurants are kid-friendly by definition--the combination of foods that can be eaten with fingers (some on wooden skewers!), noodles, and the challenge of chopsticks is certain to keep patrons under the age of ten occupied for quite some time. And the food here is among the best the Twin Cities has to offer, exotic enough to gratify the adventurous palate, yet with enough familiar menu items to appease the timid (or tiny). The surroundings are pleasant, the atmosphere (complete with open kitchen) bustling, the service peerlessly attentive. If that's not enough, each tyke is also supplied with a little carry-out container stocked with a couple of toy-type items (crayons, a connect-the-dots puzzle, and some flexible whatsits to bend into various cool shapes), along with a kids' menu. And to keep impatience and/or starvation at bay, youngsters are offered a bowl of rice or noodles right away, on the house. Put it all together and you've got a dining experience that satisfies the small fry while permitting the leaders of the pack to push away from the table nourished and, more important, with their dignity intact.