King's Korean restaurant is a gem of savory Asian cuisine, whether you are looking for authentic Korean specialties or naturally healthy dining, you will find some of the finest Asian food this side of the Pacific Ocean.
The menu, both American and fusion-free, offers a variety of choices sure to please every palate from familiar vegetarian stir-fry to bulgogi, a traditional barbecued beef, to the more exotic choices of stir-fried octopus and squid. Several Chinese and Japanese dishes, including homemade green tea ice cream, plus a spectacular array of sushi, round out the extensive list of selections.
Given the culinary talents of chefs Myong Kim and Tony Tuy, and the gracious presence of owner, Suki, it's no surprise that King's has been voted 'Best Korean Restaurant' by City Pages for several years and was recently highlighted on the Channel 5 Twin Cities Live program as a 'hidden gem' of ethnic food.
Key at King's is not just what's on the menu, but what goes into the recipes. Suki insists on nothing but the freshest of ingredients to be used in King's kitchen, which means several trips a year to the International Market in Chicago to hand select her spices, oils, Asian pears, and rice, to bring the finest food possible to her customers.
A select list of beers, wines (by the bottle and the glass), hot and cold sakes, scotch, martinis, cocktails, teas and soft drinks. But even those who prefer to drink water only are in for a treat at King's, where tap water is replaced by purified, oxygenated water.
Light music, wood tables and intimate booths create a warm atmosphere. The service is friendly and attentive, including personal guidance if you are new to Asian food or want to try your hand at chopsticks. And groups of ten or more can choose to order family-style from a customized menu Suki will oversee from start to finish.
Suki, the gracious and generous proprietor of King's Restaurant, sees to every detail at her restaurant because, very simply, it makes her happy to provide good food for her customers. Suki was born and raised in Kusan on the western coast of South Korea, where her mother and grandmother cooked for a large family and frequent guests while Suki watched and learned.
The traditional family recipes are not written down because their perfection relies on fragrance and taste. Recollections of daily trips to the market - once for breakfast, once for lunch and once for dinner - have also left indelible memories, along with the open flames and incredible heat that produced quick and perfectly cooked meals. All this is tradition Suki recreates in King's Menu.
When Suki moved to the United States she sought the best environment and education for her family, and chose Minnesota as her permanent home because of its lakes, trees, green grass and fresh air.
But when she arrived in Minnesota she became homesick for the authentic Korean food of her childhood. That longing, coupled with the fact that she had already owned and operated several businesses, made opening a restaurant a logical step. When Suki decided to open King's to fill the void of good, healthy food in her and her family's life, she decided to do it right and said, 'I'm going to hire a Korean chef.' And she did do it right - so right that when she travels today she is homesick for Minnesota.
In Suki's personal life, family, health and happiness are the most important ingredients. This philosophy carries over to King's Korean restaurant: She not only treats her guests as family (children often call her 'auntie'), she has also created an extended family in her staff who share her priorities and high standards. Just as Suki takes pride in her employees, they take pride in the restaurant as if it were their own. And it shows. The staff are friendly, knowledgeable, attentive and happy to have worked alongside Suki ever since King's opened its doors ten years ago.
King's head chef, Myong Kim, has been cooking for more than fifty years. He started cooking at age 15, cooked all over the world under the auspices of the Korean government, and made his way to the United States about twenty years ago, settling in Virginia.
When Suki announced her plans to open King's, a friend of Suki's who knew of Myong's talents recommended him and he has lived in Minnesota ever since.
Myong now plans to retire here which says a lot about King's Restaurant and Minnesota, because his homeland, Cheju Island, South Korea, is similar to Hawaii with its sandy beaches, volcanic terrain and subtropical climate.
When he began at King's, Myong cooked everything on the menu. But after teaching his fellow chefs how to cook, he now specializes in the sauces - sauces whose ingredients, beyond the conventional pear juice for sweet and cayenne pepper for hot, remain top secret. 'No one makes sauces the way he does,' Suki says.
King's sushi chef, Tony Tuy, is the one employee at King's who does not speak Korean, but he speaks both Thai and English. He previously worked at Jade and the Fuji Ya and is the newest addition to King's Korean Restaurant. Tony is a true artist. His unique sushi creations are not only breathtakingly beautiful, they are sometimes playful and always delicious.
The key at King's is not just what's on the menu, but what goes into the recipes. Suki insists on nothing but the freshest of ingredients to be used in King's kitchen, which means several trips a year to hand select her spices, seasonings, oils, Asian pears, rice and more, to bring the finest food possible to her customers.
The restaurant features a reknown Korean chef who was hand picked by Suki, and has perfected King's cuisine over the years.
Things to try -
Japchae, a delicious plate of sweet potato noodles with meat & vegetables.
Bulgogi, barbecued beef or fresh marinated spicy pork with traditional Korean sauce.
Sushi Suki Roll, fresh cut hamachi, soft-shell crab, cucumber, gobo, spicy mayo; finished with eel unagi sauce and spicy tuna. Tip: enjoy your sushi with a bottle of hot or cold saki.
The Dolsot Bibimbap
Korean food is simple, elegant and naturally healthy, especially when it is prepared at King's.
Meats and vegetables are purchased locally, while everything else is hand selected by Suki at the International Market in Chicago several times a year to make sure the freshest ingredients possible are used in all of King's fine dishes.
A vast assortment of sushi is available after 4:30 p.m., but many extraordinary selections are featured in the daily lunch buffet.
A favorite specialty is the Dolsot Bibimbap, which looks like a bowl of sunshine. In a steaming-hot stone bowl, several fresh vegetables surround a raw egg on a bed of rice and thinly sliced beef.
The bowl is so hot, the food continues to cook even after it is served. Like many of King's selections, this is an easy one to spice according to your palate or have prepared as a vegetarian dish.
The extensive menu changes slightly with the seasons, to include whole chickens cooked with garlic and ginseng
in the summer and more homemade soups in the winter to promote good health. To honor Korean holidays, delicacies such as moon and rice cakes are made with special fillings for Chuseok, a Korean fall harvest celebration.
Another favorite is the Jeyuk Bokeum, a spicy stir-fried pork with vegetables and panchan. Panchan, the many side dishes served at each meal, are the trademark of Korean food. At King's the panchan vary daily, except for the kim chee, a spicy, pickled cabbage delicacy, because, 'If there isn't kim chee, it isn't Korean food.'
King's Korean Restaurant is open every day.
Sunday through Thursday the hours are 11:30 am to 9:00 pm
Friday and Saturday the hours are 11:30 am to 9:30 pm
A vast assortment of sushi is available after 4:30 pm but many extraordinary selections are featured in the daily lunch buffet.
King's is located on 1051 East Moore Lake Rd, Fridley, MN Tel: (763) 571-7256
Tel: (763) 571-7256
1051 East Moore Lake Rd Fridley, MN
King's extensive menu changes with the seasons to include whole chickens cooked with garlic and ginseng in the summer and homemade soups in the winter. To honor Korean holidays, delicacies such as moon cakes and rice cakes are made with special fillings. Groups of ten or more can order family-style dishes from a customizable menu.
Light music, wood tables and intimate booths create a warm atmosphere. The service is friendly and attentive, and offers personal guidance if you are new to Asian food or want to try your hand at chopsticks.