BEST KOREAN RESTAURANT Minneapolis 2001 - Sole
So, here's a secret we wouldn't tell a soul: In the middle of this past winter (you remember, the ten-month-long one?), in the depths of our greatest despair, our shrink looked at us and said: Do something for you. Something you enjoy. There must be something you enjoy? Half a box of Kleenex later, we remembered: Well, there is Sole. The next day, comforted by a plate of that warm, fish-free sushi roll kim bob ($6.50), the incomparably wondrous adka fish gui ($11.95), and half a dozen little bowls of Sunny Kim's gorgeous pan chan, we remembered, yeah, life is occasionally sweet! Not just the food, which is really to die for, but also because watching Sunny and her husband Pong Kim's restaurant grow has been like some kind of real-time playing-out of the American Dream. The place started out looking like the inside of a worn-out sewing box, with the Kims in residence 18 hours a day, looking vaguely hopeful. Every year they spruce it all up a little more (most recently they have added some rustic Korean room dividers and this nifty tile roof-thing over the bar), and if they swapped out the fluorescent lights for some more flattering ones, the place would be downright stylish. Sunny and Pong are still there 12 to 18 hours a day, but customers have finally started finding the place. And when we noticed the poster for the Kims' new pool hall across the street (with Korean-style billiards as well as the customary kind), well, it was time for the rest of the Kleenex.