Kim Chi Café
new eatery offers up a taste of Korea
Here’s a game. Take a globe. Then, closing your eyes or wearing a blindfold if you can’t be trusted to keep your eyes shut on your own, spin the globe and plunk your finger down. Chances are surprisingly good that wherever your finger lands, there will be a restaurant nearby serving something delish from that part of the world.
Yes, we in the Chippewa Valley are truly blessed to able to smack our lips on tasty and locally prepared cuisine from places near and far. From down-home beloved cheesehead fare to the exotic delights found in places we can’t even pronounce. And it’s all within a short drive. Most recent on the list of new and scrumptious establishments to dine is the Kim Chi Café on Eau Claire’s London Road.
The Dol-sot bi-bim-bap is served in a hot stone bowl with a half-cooked egg on top. When it arrives at the table, you must stir it in with some flavored sauce and that makes it crackle and snap as the egg continues to cook in the bowl.
Owner Ryan Miescke, a Fall Creek native and former owner of Secret Garden, has spent years perfecting the delights of Korean food. Ryan lived and worked as an English teacher in Seoul, South Korea for five years. In that time he made a lot of friends from diverse backgrounds, learned a bit of the language, and (lucky for us) developed a passion for Korean food and culture.
At that point in his life, Ryan says, “I was either going to go back to school to finish my doctorate or open a restaurant and pursue my interest in Korean cuisine. So ... here I am. I learned how to cook some dishes in Korea and some dishes in the United States. I was allowed to train at ‘Hoban’ restaurant in Eagan, MN and use many of their traditional recipes, however I have included just a few Americanized favorites.”
On a cold January eve I made my way there, along with my companion – who, as it happens, lived in Korea for two years and adores Korean food. So more or less I was with someone, unlike myself, who actually knew what authentic Korean food is meant to taste like.