Subo — August 25, 2010

29 08 2010

89 10th Street South

Green Papaya Rolls

Transforming the old Hells Kitchen location from a grungy breakfast spot to a modern Asian bistro couldn’t have been easy, but Subo has pulled it off handily. Its dimly lit bar draws attention to funky light fixtures and furniture, and the rear restaurant space pairs natural light from block windows with candlelight from simple wall fixtures. Ambiance alone, you’d hardly guess waiters (and patrons) once filled the place in pajamas and slippers.

With Jim’s dad in town on business, we found it a great excuse to indulge an interesting menu and enjoy a mid-week dinner downtown. The drink menu was inventive, which was only a sign of the dinner choices ahead of us. Chip ordered a limoncello martini – invented by our waiter himself – and we followed suit with the Gringo T-punch: a tequila cocktail with green tea, mango nectar and almond essence.

Red Snapper Fish Cakes

Subo recommends three to six small plates per couple, so we staggered our orders to keep a steady flow of new tastes coming our way. We were hard pressed to declare a favorite – everything was creatively paired, expertly executed and nicely presented. The Green Papaya Salad Rolls combined strips of mango, papaya and pea tips in a spring roll wrapper with an orange, rice puffs and a dab of spicy vinaigrette on top: a spicy-meets-cool combination that was chic and refreshing. Each mini roll held together effortlessly, making it easy to eat – even with chopsticks.

Steak and onions

Fish Cakes, red snapper patties mixed with cilantro and topped with a light drizzle of coconut lime cream, arrived hot alongside cool strips of papaya. The bite-size cakes seemed to use cornmeal instead of bread crumbs, which made them crisp with a more wholesome taste. The Bistek dish followed: strips of tender skirt steak and caramelized onions tossed in a soy-flavored butter, which retained a light buttery flavor throughout the bite. Hot Mustard Dumplings continued to wow us. Wonton wrappers enclosing ground pork and vegetables and were cut into short bites and dipped in a rich broth. The spices stuffed into each small pocket weren’t overtaken by the salty liquid, and the contents stayed warm as they sat at our table (which, I admit, we didn’t allow to happen for long).

Hot Mustard Pork Dumplings

The only dish that didn’t astound us was the last: large sea scallops topped with minced tomatoes and onions, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with black sea salt. While the scallops were nicely seared to a crisp, the whole package was too salty and lacked much else. It didn’t have the same inventiveness or striking seasoning as the other plates on the table.

Though we agreed dessert would put us over the edge, I did enjoy a complimentary glass of champagne as part of Subo’s designated “ladies night” Wednesdays. Free drinks or not, we’re already eager for a return trip. All three of us were quite impressed with the knowledgeable service, relaxed-yet-modern environment, original menu lineup and outstanding food. Subo brings a new flavor to downtown Minneapolis, and we’ll be back to try more of it. Though, if left up to me, our reservation might just happen to fall on another Wednesday….

RATING (out of 5 ♠♠♠♠♠)
Ambiance/Environment: ♠♠♠1/2
Menu Selection: ♠♠♠
Service: ♠♠♠1/2

Food Taste & Presentation: ♠♠♠♠

Total bill: someone else’s treat!

Subo on Urbanspoon




2 responses

31 08 2010
Pig Uteri, Awkward Photos and Morning Roundup | The Heavy Table - Minneapolis-St. Paul and Upper Midwest Food Magazine and Blog

[…] depicts a “group of goofballs” [image of DeRusha provided for context here], a blogger praises Subo (our considerably older review is here), former Town Talk bartender Nick Kosevich (who contributed […]

1 09 2010

This looks very good. i just got hungry at my desk!

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