Sandwiched between Keegan’s and JL Beers, PinKU Japanese Street Food is a must try.
Having recently moved back to Northeast Minneapolis after 6 months of pretending we could be happy in the suburbs, I was beyond excited to get back to trying new Minneapolis restaurants and the non-chain restaurant life. Being a novice sushi eater, and completely averse to shrimp, thanks to once being told that shrimp were 1 chromosome away from a cockroach (you’re welcome for that, too), I was minorly hesitant when my boyfriend suggested we try PinKU. It proved to be completely unwarranted.
While they don’t have a hard liquor license, they do still serve a wide variety of libations; sake (of course), beer, wine, and what I was most intrigued by- a champagne/sake cocktail called the “PinKU Elixer.” Made with sake, champagne, orange liqueur, pomegranate, and lime, it had just enough heat, but while I usually find sake to be overpowering, the pomegranate had a delicious balance.
My boyfriend was especially excited about the Japanese beer selections. He was very happy with his selection of Coedo.
The food was absolutely delicious. If you consider the Americanized sushi restaurants in the area, their prices can seem a little steep for what you receive, but there was very obviously a lot more thought put into every flavor profile, which made it well worth it.
I started us off with an order of Potstickers made with a Ginger Garlic Sauce. Delicious. I also ordered Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice, which was garnished with radish and jalepeno. Again, delicious, I just wish the portion size was a little larger.
Matt ordered Seared Salmon with Rice Cake and Jump Crispy Shrimp with Rice Noodles. I, naturally, snuck a taste of all of it and immediately regretted not ordering some salmon of my own.
What is most exciting about PinKU Japanese Street Food, is their ever changing menu. While we were there the co-owner of PinKU was behind the counter and able to fill us in a little on his background and convey his passion for offering quality Japanese style sushi. He also explained to us that they intentionally mix up their menu, this could partially be due to operation and ingredients, but he seemed genuinely excited that his “street food” concept continued to surprise and delight everytime you walked through the door. He also strongly recommended their brunch options, but we, unfortunately, haven’t been back yet to try that.
To see what is on the menu, they have a custom built wood menu board right when you walk in that has all the dishes for the day. As they run out, they simply flip over that card, which intrigued me to ask what I had missed!
Like I had already mentioned, we had the pleasure of being served by the owner. Service was thorough and customized, he had no issue taking the time to explain dishes and ingredients and the food came out quick and well prepared.
There was a lot of great artwork displayed around the restaurant. On their website you can read more about the Artist statement and how they wanted the artwork to be integrated into the restaurant and reflect the authentic Japenese culture.
The space had the warehouse/cafeteria feel that is starting to become synonymous with many Northeast and Minneapolis establishments. Seating was limited, which again, seemed to reiterate the street food vibe.
Overall, I’d give it a strong 4 stars, just don’t be surprised if, in typical sushi fashion, you find yourself hungry a few hours later…it’s not your fault, it’s the American sized portions we’re used to haha.
PinKU Japanese Street Food
20 University Ave. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
Lunch: 11AM – 2PM
Dinner: 5PM – 10PM