Edit ModuleShow Tags

Discovering Korean Restaurant Sole Café


Published:

When my husband asks me what I want for supper, the following usually comes to mind in any particular order: Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, Korean. I prefer to patronize restaurants that are committed to sustainable practices, freshness, good service, and big-time flavor, which is why dishes like the Phở soup at Ngon Vietnamese Bistro and the Som Tum papaya salad at Sen Yai Sen Lek are always contenders.

Finding a Korean restaurant with a similar commitment to fresh, local foods has been more of a challenge for me, so when I read that the folks at Sole Café cook naturally and shop at local farmers’ markets for their produce, I was hopeful. And had to try it out.

Shortly after arriving and ordering your meal at Sole Café, five small plates of seasoned vegetables (namul) are placed at your table, including a nutty bean sprout salad with sesame oil (kongnamul), crunchy shredded potatoes (gamja bokkeum, I think), spicy pickled cucumbers (oi-sobagi), sweet, sour, and slightly chewy lotus root (yeon-gn), and spicy fermented napa cabbage (kimchi). As your entrees arrive, you can mix and match flavors using the namul plates.

As for entrees, their kimchi jjigae is good—a hot and steamy bowl of stew made with their house-made kimchi, tender onions, and meat or tofu. The thin, tangy, spicy, red pepper broth is balanced by a side of white rice which helps cool and recalibrate your palette after every three bites or so.

Their bibimbap (not to be confused with dolsot bibimbap, which is served in a hot stone pot) is a bowl full of sautéed and seasoned vegetables (namul), sliced meat or tofu, and a nicely fried egg—plus rice on the side. Bibimbap literally means “mixed meal,” so while it looks better with all the components separated, it tastes best when mixed all together with the accompanying sweet pepper sauce.

Sole Café is surrounded by a few other Korean restaurants in the Midway neighborhood of St Paul. Street parking is easy, and reservations aren’t necessary. Sole Café could use a pick-me-up in the ambiance department (the television is obtrusive), but I focused on my food and my husband’s conversation, and the atmosphere was less distracting. The service is friendly and humorous. On our recent visit, my husband commented on our server, “She’s kind of like the Korean mother I never had.”

Sole Café
Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday: 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 11 a.m. - 2 a.m.

684 Snelling Ave. N.
Saint Paul, MN 55104
651-644-2068
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Rum and Molasses Marinated Beef Kebabs with Grilled Cantaloupe Recipe

Get fired up for a taste of the tropics in sizzling grilled kebabs

4 Restaurants, Nearly $850,000 in Park Board Money

How much do Sea Salt, Sandcastle, Tin Fish, and Bread & Pickle make for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board?

Fancy Fresh: 3 Things to Eat This Week

A morel tasting menu, a trendy foie gras egg creation, a worthy cinnamon roll—for your long-weekend staycation
Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

TC Taste answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the TC Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rhutton@mnmo.com

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Recent TC Taste Posts

Rum and Molasses Marinated Beef Kebabs with Grilled Cantaloupe Recipe

Get fired up for a taste of the tropics in sizzling grilled kebabs

4 Restaurants, Nearly $850,000 in Park Board Money

How much do Sea Salt, Sandcastle, Tin Fish, and Bread & Pickle make for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board?

Fancy Fresh: 3 Things to Eat This Week

A morel tasting menu, a trendy foie gras egg creation, a worthy cinnamon roll—for your long-weekend staycation

Fried Avocado Tacos with Shredded Vegetables and Crema Recipe

Never thought of frying avocados? Once you try it, you might want to eat them all the time.

The Minnesota Connection to the Mondavi Wine Family

MNMO food critic Jason DeRusha sits down with Carlo Mondavi to talk wine and the (Italian by way of Minnesota) family legacy

Santa Maria–Style Tri-Tip Recipe

Step up your grilling repertoire with Mexican-inspired seasonings on juicy tri-tip
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Crazy Good: 3 Things to Eat This Week

Is that ice cream made with foie gras? Shh...just eat it...

Mother’s Day Brunch

Driscoll's berries are the perfect ingredient for a Mother's Day brunch

Byte Minneapolis Doesn't Bite

Part "geek bar," part "cafe"—Byte is a Warehouse District counter service spot paying $15 minimum wage, vacation time, and benefits

Chinese-Spiced Pork Recipe

Let your slow cooker simmer up savory pork dinner while you enjoy your day

A Little Package of Joy Just For You

Driscoll's berries are the key to happiness.

Baja Style Fish Tacos Recipe

Gear up for Cinco de Mayo with light and crispy fish tacos dressed with fresh green salsa and a lime-infused coleslaw
Edit ModuleShow Tags

A Stillwater Favorite for Good Reason

LoLo Stillwater's incredible cocktails and fantastic food have this restaurant expanding to Hudson and the MSP Airport

Force blooming spring at Sandcastle, Hola Arepa, and Solo Vino

It's spring, gosh darn it, and we're going to eat like it's sunny at Sandcastle, Hola Arepa, and Solo Vino

Hasselback Potatoes with Watercress and Watercress Sauce Recipe

Crunchy outside yet tender within, the popular potato and salad come together in one beautiful dish
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags