The Left Handed Cook 3/22/2014

Midtown Global Market is an amalgamation of food and gift shops in an indoor public market.  Many of the Twin Cities best sources of food have representation here, from off-shoots of the Holy Land grocery and deli and Salsa a la Salsa to various independent small businesses running stalls, representing various food from around the world.  Out of this market, The Left Handed Cook, a nod to Korean street food, was born and grew to be so popular that they closed their stall and “fell into The Rabbit Hole“, their relatively new restaurant located in the same building as the Market.

Venue

I knew the place was located in Midtown Global Market, but I wasn’t sure the exact location.  Being late March, one might think that the weather would be looking up, but being Minnesota, it was of course not even 20F and with a bitter cold wind, so we parked, paid, and ran inside, without thinking about location.  Looking around, it was apparent that there wasn’t a clear map with this place on it…

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…But this looked promising (can you see what I saw?).  Naturally, we followed the white rabbit.

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And this is what we found inside…

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So we bellied up to the bar to explore the menu.

Food&Drink

While the cocktail list looked great, we weren’t feeling like it was a day for cocktails in the afternoon, so we opted to enjoy the rotating craft draft, which was one of our favorites, Bell’s Hopslam.  Overall the list had a nice variety of quality craft beers both local and out of state.  While they had Asahi on tap, I was slightly disappointed that I didn’t see a Korean pilsner, like Cass or Hite, on the list at all, at least for effect.  However, since Korean beer isn’t very exciting, I don’t really blame them.

Since The Left Handed Cook is only a lunch spot (The Rabbit Hole is in the same location and opens with the dinner menu), my dining companion and I weren’t up for completely gorging ourselves on food.  We opted to share a couple dishes and struggled between a rice bowl, sammy, and doshi tray.  We landed on the Bok Bok Bop (bop/bap is rice in Korean) Bowl and The Appa (appa is dad in Korean).

  • Bok Bok Bop Bowl – 21 spice fried chicken, served on steamed rice, w/gochu sauce, soft poached egg, kimchi, and assorted vegetables
  • The Appa – 6oz. patty, smoked bacon, bleu, gruyere, bourbon onions, arugula, tomato jam, kimchi aioli, fried egg

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The Bok Bok Bop Bowl is their take on bibimbap, a traditional Korean staple, which basically is a mixed rice bowl.  The toppings can vary and usually are some protein (usually bulgogi, or Korean barbecue beef) with various banchan, or side dishes, which are usually pickled or seasoned vegetables.  We asked for extra “gochu sauce”, which was their take on a seasoned gochujang (red pepper paste) and I think of as a flavorful/fermented Korean sriracha.  The dish was delicious – definitely took me back to the comfort food cravings on my couple trips to Korea.  The chicken was good, too – had a slight curry taste to it, and I liked the crunchy texture in the mix.

The burger was melt in my mouth happiness.  Perfectly cooked medium rare, but the bartender said it would be juicy even if cooked well-done, and I believe him.  All the gooey cheesiness combined with the richness of the egg yolk and big flavors of bacon and kimchi were perfect.

Price

For just over $20 before tax for food, I would go back for another lunch in a heartbeat.  Kudos and cheers go to Thomas Kim and Kat Melgaard.

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