All of these dishes come with fine rice and six to eight Korean side dishes from a typical (but somewhat variable) array of choices: spinach in sesame sauce, marinated mushroom, bean sprouts with larger beans for more flavor, semi-pickled vegetables with hot sauce, a dish of very tiny fish fried into a savory little heap (only available on one of my visits), and some unusual beans. You might get slightly different things on another night.
Some of the wines on Minsok’s list might go well with the food. But more apropos are some interesting sakes, plum wines, and a couple of Korean shochu selections. We tried Korean OB Lager ($3.50), an apt brewski for a cuisine with lots of hot pepper. Bohae ($15/half bottle) is a wild-raspberry wine in the style of a ruby Port, but a little less sweet. It’s served with shot glasses.
Servers are knowledgeable and fully bilingual, yet did not steer us away from authentic dishes with strong flavors. They’re proud of this cuisine, and rightly so. The space, despite having been home to several restaurants, including Zoe’s Gourmet Chinese, still bears the shell of a converted gas station, so there are two odd-shaped dining rooms and a quarry-tile floor. The nicer room is the add-on solarium, now decorated with some substantial art and live flowers. The larger dining room has a wonderful aquarium and two large TVs.
Beyond the California maki with the “live sashimi” dinner, I can’t even report on the sushi. I didn’t miss it. At Minsok, the familiar Korean dishes are top-notch, the unfamiliar ones can be an adventure, and you’re in good hands either way.
MINSOK RESTAURANT | 617.731.7889 | 92 Harvard Street, Brookline | Open Mon–Thurs, 11:30 am–10:30 pm; Fri-Sat, 11:30 am–midnight; and Sun, 11:30 am–10 pm | MC, VI | Beer and wine | Valet parking, own parking lot | Street-level access
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