Minnesota Lefties Catch a Break

Southpaws rejoice! A new champion has taken up your culinary cause.

The Left Handed Cook, named after leftie chef and owner Thomas Kim, held a preview party last week at its soon-to-open Midtown Global Market location on Chicago Ave. and Lake St. in Minneapolis.

The well-attended media event brimmed with foodies and a few local celebs, including Mayor R.T. Rybak and wife Megan, as well as Minnesota Monthly’s resident grande dame, Sue Zelickson. Kim and co-owner Kat Melgaard greeted guests with snacks and drinks and took the stage to explain to the crowd their story and vision for the new restaurant.

The stylish couple, decked in uniforms designed by Melgaard herself (who previously worked in clothing design and marketing in Los Angeles and New York), wore black bowler hats, denim aprons, and displayed copious amounts of skin-ink. They described how they hope to bring a taste of “L.A. style” and food to the Twin Cities.

Dishes as eclectic as fried brussels sprouts, braised short rib with a poached egg, chili soy edamame, and some killer fried chicken, suggested they might be onto something. Many of the dishes had an “Asian” bend–a little spice, a little soy, and lots of flavor, stemming from classic sushi training and time in the kitchens of legendary chef Roy Yamaguchi.

After having opened nearly a dozen restaurants, including a few for his mentor Yamaguchi, Kim seemed awed at how smooth the process has been so far. His last project, a seat-less restaurant aptly named The Standing Room, had critics from LA cooing about pork sausages, “hyper-burger” flavor, and lines out the door. He sold his right to The Standing Room to family back home and made the jump to Minnesota with the urgings of Melgaard, who has childhood roots in the Midwest.

How did the couple arrive in February and get a restaurant open by May? Kim credits what else, but Minnesota nice. “At this point in my career, I’m not messing around and was ready to be aggressive in getting this place open. But the guys from Sonora Grill, Kitchen In The Market, Doug Flicker from Piccolo and others have really taken me under their wing and helped me meet the right people.”

Will that Minnesota nice translate to adoring customers? We’ll find out soon, since they officially opened yesterday.

The Left Handed Cook
Midtown Global Market: 920 E. Lake St., Suite 124, Mpls.
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.