There's a new tenant going into 89 S. 10th St. in downtown Minneapolis, and, for the first time in years, the former home of Le Peep, Hell's Kitchen (now at 80 S. 9th St.) and the short-lived Calhoun Grill won't be serving breakfast.
Instead, chef/co-owner Neil Guillen will be bringing downtown diners a pan-Asian restaurant and bar he's calling Subo. "It's basically a kind of mixture of Southeast Asian cuisines, bringing together my classical French training and my Filipino background," said Guillen, who left a gig at New York City's Kuma Inn to head to Minnesota. "The whole idea is to bring people together to share small dishes."
The tapas bar-style mix will include comfort foods from Guillen's childhood (chicken thighs slowly braised in soy sauce and garlic), as well as beef dishes (short ribs braised in sake and lemongrass), pork-filled steamed buns and "my variation of the banh mi sandwich from Vietnam," he said. Construction is underway, with a dining room designed to resemble a typical Asian street scene ("We want to take that outdoor feel and bring it indoors," Guillen said) and a floor plan that's centered on an open kitchen. The plan is to open shortly after Thanksgiving.
Guillen, a Michigan native, said he's glad to be back in the Midwest. "It has the good feeling of coming back to my roots," he said. He landed in Minneapolis after visiting friends and getting to know the city. It didn't hurt that he was getting other kinds of encouragement. "One of our guests kept coming into the Kuma Inn and telling me, 'You should come to Minneapolis; we'd like to see your food there.'"
The name? In the Philippines, subo means, "I'm going to feed you," said Guillen. "My mom instilled that in me. When you go into a Filipino home, their first instinct is to ask, 'Are you hungry?' I want people to feel comfortable in my restaurant. Come in, and I'll feed you."Mea (maxima) culpa
Although it's not as mortifying as my "roast peasant" debacle from a few years back, I'm so embarrassed by an error in last week's Counter Intelligence that I'm wincing as I type this. Still, I didn't want the world to believe that restaurateur Kieran Folliard (the Local, the Liffey, Kieran's Irish Pub, Cooper) thinks that a cooper is a bellmaker. He knows it's the name of a barrelmaker, but that darned Irish accent of his made my brain think that he said "bell," and that's what I wrote. Sheesh. Time for vacation, which is why Counter Intelligence will return Oct. 29.