There are flashing, nightclub-style lights and the unmistakable plumes of smoke from tabletop Korean BBQ stations. The shuttered Design Within Reach store on Hennepin has completed its transformation into something far more delicious (sorry, modern furniture lovers).
Hoban Korean Uptown is officially open, and meats are ready for grilling. Inside, the divine aroma of caramelized meats is heady. Order whatever your heart desires from various marinated and un-marinated cuts of beef and pork, and it arrives table side, ready for you to grill to your liking. The meat comes with banchan, many little sidecars of pickles, vegetables, chile, kimchee, and the like that allow you to tailor each and every bite to your specification.
The place is huge, with a vibe that feels young and convivial. Hip-hop pumps from the speakers. Large groups hover over their grills in the holy worship of the meat. The kitchen also offers other traditional Korean dishes like bibimpap, bulgogi, excellent crispy fried chicken, and a lot more.
It's customary to drink soju, a rice, wheat or barley-based alcohol that's sort of a cousin to sake, but Hoban also has a full bar.
They are not taking reservations, so it's a first-come, first-served deal. Business hours are from 4 p.m. to midnight, though hours and reservation policies may change as they settle in. They say the past couple have weeks have been nothing short of crazy. As far as we know, it's the only Korean BBQ restaurant of this kind in the city.
Hoban Korean Uptown
2939 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis