The familiar BOOP of the map app chimes as I pull into a massive Edina parking lot flanked by two towering office buildings. I have arrived.
Or... have I? I see a sign for Dairy Queen’s corporate headquarters, and my confusion doubles (while visions of hot fudge sundaes dance in my head).
This is not the place I’d expect to find a beloved Japanese restaurant. But as I navigate toward the back of the lot, I see a sign for JK’s Table pop out among the rows of gray windows.
JK’s Table was enthusiastically recommended by a friend after I pleaded on social media for new places to eat. (Hit me up in the comments, people! I’m hungry.) A quick cruise of their online menu had one item practically shouting EAT ME through the screen: Japanese Style Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich.
For a person who will devour anything deep fried OR coated in a spicy sauce, this sandwich held a lot of promise. I was here on a mission: try the fried chicken sandwich, and see if it would live up to the fantasies playing in my head for weeks.
I’m full of purpose when I stroll through those doors at lunchtime. I order the spicy chicken sandwich in question, two pieces of sushi, a cup of green tea, and, heeeyy, why not, some takoyaki as well.
(By some miracle, I avoid tacking on ice cream-filled mochi or a box of Pocky, though the signs next to the cash register do their best to pull me in.)
I sit, and soon a small flowered teapot and a mug appear on a plastic tray in front of me. I pour some tea into the handleless mug, which has little ceramic nubbies that gave it some texture for my lips as I sip.
I plunk a pair of chopsticks out of the pail on the table while I wait, and in a few minutes the fried chicken sandwich arrives—sushi on the side—neatly cut in half, as per my request.
Here is a tip to you, dear reader: When dining out, always request that your sandwich be cut in half. Most sandwiches—especially burgers—are giant stacked monstrosities that do not easily fit into human mouth holes. The most elegant way to ease the chewing process is by starting with a corner instead of just chomping into the middle. (It also makes for cuter photos, less achy jaws, and in the case of a Jucy Lucy, will save you from the molten cheese death spurt.)
This sandwich is filled with crispy chicken chunks coated in a sweet brown sauce, pickled carrots stuffed in for some sour, with shaved cabbage for crunch. The potato hoagie roll was slathered with mayo. Typically, I fear gloopy, but although this sandwich had multiple sauces it never veered into sloppy mess territory. The bun was soft and mild, exactly what you want for a sandwich with a lot of flavors.
And this was all comfort flavors, a soft fleece blanket for the soul. I didn’t detect any kick--definitely falls within the range of Minnesota Mild--and plucked a few pieces of pickled ginger from the sushi plate to add to the last few bites, which made it perfect.
The best part about this sandwich is that even after demolishing the entire thing in five minutes, I never felt gut-bombed. Considering that JK's Table is located in an office building, this is an important sandwich attribute, as any fellow office worker who has suffered through an entire afternoon fighting a nap after eating a midday burrito knows. It’s a fine line to walk for a fried chicken sandwich: to be delicious but not weigh down its recipient. But this one succeeds.
The two pieces of sushi went down quick, the tuna tender and smooth, the salmon eggs squishing onto my tongue with a deep ocean sweetness. Another sip of green tea and the takoyaki arrive, with a warning from the server that they’re very hot and I should wait. Takoyaki are golden, toasted spheres created with an egg batter. Similar in texture to a fluffy Dutch baby pancake, they come stuffed with chunks of octopus, green onions, and other assorted fillings. I learned about them from our beloved Uncle Tony and always enjoy foodstuffs that offer the possibility of tongue burn (pizza rolls, nachos, Jucy Lucys, etc.).
After a few minutes of poking the takoyaki with the tip of a chopstick, I finally dive in. No longer ripping hot, they’re still warm, filled with a soft, eggy custard and bits of octopus that are pleasant to chew. The brown sauce on top adds a bit of sweetness, but I notice the standard pile of bonito flakes is missing. The dried, fermented, and smoked bonito fish, shaved finely into light pink wisps that add a deep rich flavor, were really missed on this dish, although I understand for an office building audience, it might make more sense to keep them off. Regardless, at $3.50, they were a lovely side piece to the rest of my lunch.
I’ve worked in my fair share of offices, and can attest that one of the few things that makes cube life bearable is a quality lunch spot within walking distance. I still hold a special place in my heart for all Minneapolis’ lunchtime delights—Maya’s burritos! The soup special at One on One!—that sustained me through stacks of invoices, customer calls, and assorted corporate nonsense.
JK's Table is homey and warm in contrast to the bleak concrete building that contains it. They offer comfort food to those putting in their time dressed in business casual, and would be a lovely excursion if you find yourself deep in Edina on a weekday morning or afternoon.
(Just tell your boss: “dentist appointment.”)
7401 Metro Blvd. Ste. 155, Edina