So, we recently had a special occasion to celebrate, but where to go?
We decided on Sooki & Mimi, a new addition to the portfolio of Ann Kim, our city’s best pizza maker.
Except, there’s no pizza on this menu. Instead, you’ll find tacos, tostadas, steak, and lamb.
How did it go?
Spoiler alert: Amazingly. Read on for our entire review + recommendations.
DiscoverTheCities.com “Must Eats” at Sooki & Mimi
- Mushroom Birria Tacos
- Gai Lan
About Sooki and Mimi
Sooki and Mimi is the latest in Ann Kim’s Minneapolis restaurant Empire. Regular readers of this blog will recognize the name – she’s our hero who runs three of our favorite Pizza restaurants in Minneapolis (Pizzeria Lola, Young Joni, and Hello Pizza.) There’s not a whole lot to say about Kim that hasn’t already been said, so we’ll just drop her impressive resume here:
- James Beard Award Winner: Best Chef Midwest (2019)
- 2017 Winner of Star Tribune’s Restaurant of the Year (Young Joni)
- Andrew Zimmern said she makes the best pizza in America.
- Guy Fieri was blown away by her pizza when Pizzeria Lola was featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives.
- Featured on an episode of Netflix’s Chef Table: Pizza
So you can imagine our excitement when we heard she was opening her first non-pizza restaurant – Sooki and Mimi – in 2021.
It started as a $120 tasting menu, reinvented itself a few times, and is now a carefully curated a-la-carte menu focusing on regional Mexican cuisine, with a bit of Kim’s South Korean roots mixed in.
Our Full Review
Sooki and Mimi sits among the hustle and bustle of Uptown, Minneapolis, on 31st street.
It’s near the popular bookstore, Magers & Quinn, and right next door to the Tasting Room Wine bar and the Paper Source.
The Vibe and Atmosphere
This is high-end stuff. The interior space is absolutely stunning – kudos to whoever Kim hired for design.
There’s show stopping features everywhere you look. You’ll first notice the warm, glowing wooden ceiling, but as you make your way to your table, you’ll also spot the hustle and bustle of the open-concept kitchen. Lily and I both remarked that the kitchen looked like a mix of a high-end cooking show and an authentic Mexican villa.
Everything feels very relaxed and approachable, but make no mistake, this is a high-end spot…
Funny story: A friend brought their whole family here, toddlers and all, and was surprised when the restaurant didn’t have a single booster seat. (The thought of a two year old chowing down on a James Beard award winning chef’s take on mushroom tacos is hilarious.) Try not to be that guy…
Recently, the prixe-fix menu has been replaced with a-la carte options. The focus is clearly a fusion of regional Mexican dishes and Ann’s Kim’s Korean roots – you’ll find korean pork tacos sitting next to tostadas and Asian veggies.
One pro tip: Our server recommended ordering about two dishes per person, but noted a few dishes (the kakiage, shore lunch, and spiced lamb) were definitely bigger than others.
Sooki and Mimi isn’t playing around with the drinks. I did my best to take mental notes as our server ran through infinitely complex steps involved in making their cocktails, but eventually gave up because the cliff notes version is this: they’re treating their cocktails with care, and the results speak for themselves.
My Besos de Mezcal was one of the deepest tasting cocktails I’ve ordered anywhere, and Lily’s Tepache (a fermented pineapple-infused refresher) was awesome.
Our server said his four favorite things on the menu were the mushroom birria tacos, kakiage, spiced lamb, and gai lan. Say no more!
Mushroom Birria Tacos
As our server explained, this is the dish they are famous for, and I can see why.
These tacos are a meaty, saucy piece of heaven. And if confit mushrooms weren’t already tender enough for you, it even comes with a flavor-packed vegetable consomme sauce for dipping.
I’d love to run a blind taste test of these with my meat-loving friends, because the final product is so meaty, I’d bet even the staunchest carnivores could be fooled into thinking this was a beef mixture.
And did I mention those perfectly crispy, yet somehow still soft tortillas?
This is the kind of dish that proves when a restaurant is on a whole other level.
The menu describes this as vegetable tempura, which made me a little nervous because I don’t usually like vegetable tempura. But when our waiter explained that each vegetable slice is about half the thickness of a McDonald’s french fry, my concerns of overly-bready veggies vanished.
As promised, these veggies are crunchy yet flavorful, and everything is taken to the next level with some “serrano crema” for dipping – a bright green, refreshing dipping sauce that cuts through the fryer and leaves you wanting bite after bite.
Some of the sauciest and most tender lamb I’ve ever encountered, served in a build-your-own-taco format.
This dish was served with four of the restaurant’s legendary tortillas (more are available for purchase, and you’ll probably need it if you plan on finishing the full lamb). That said, it also comes with a few pieces of lettuce which made for some nice and refreshing wraps in between our taco creations.
Personally, I was not aware that Gai Lan was Chinese Broccoli, so I was surprised to see these come out, full stalks and all.
No matter though, because the flavor packed on this plate is something to marvel. That cashew butter immediately transported me back to one of the best veggie plates I’ve ever had – a cauliflower dish at Young Joni – and I was pleasantly surprised that it seems to be Ann Kim’s identical recipe. But she’s also added an amazing chile jam, which adds a touch of sweetness and makes this whole dish the stuff of dreams.
Dessert – Japanese Cheesecake
I won’t even try to recite all the unique elements going into this unique spin on a cheesecake, but I think Lilly nailed it when she described the creation as “like Fall in a dessert.”
The decadently soft cheesecake, mixed with crunchy crumbles on top and perfect caramel sauce, was the perfect end to an otherwise flawless meal.
Sooki and Mimi blew us away, which is no surprise from a restauranteur who’s been blowing us away for years.
What is surprising is that in moving away from Pizza, Ann Kim hasn’t missed a single beat. With a menu like this, which combines vastly different cuisines and styles, and is clearly… not pizza… you’d expect maybe one or two ambitious plans to skip a beat.
But that never happened. We joked that all five courses we tried ranged from “9.1 to 9.9” on the 10 point scale. They were all that amazing, which made this visit one of our best dining experiences in quite a while.
We will be back, and you should, too!
Roughly $14 cocktails, $14-40 a-la-carte options. (1-2 orders recommended per person).
Note that gratuity was included, so five courses between two people with a couple of cocktails totaled $170 for us.
What’s the service like?
Full wait service, and our server was awesome.
Brutal… it’s Uptown.
There’s no dedicated lot, but there is a parking garage one block away. They also offer valet Wednesday-Sunday, but you may need to pre-purchase your ticket through their website.
Do you need a reservation?
Our most recent visit was on a Tuesday. You could have walked in, but it was still surprisingly busy for a Tuesday. Reservations would definitely be recommended for more popular nights.