|Mandu: Good decor, even better food|
In an online article in Eater DC, Eric Bannon, the chef at Ted's Bulletin, said the bimbimbap at Mandu was a frequent favorite of his. Meanwhile Rob Klink, the chef at Del Frisco's Grille, also cited Mandu, singling out the pork belly and seafood pancake.
Were the chefs on target? In a word, yes. Mandu provided the best Korean food we have sampled in DC. Mandu in Korean means dumpling, so we started by sharing an order of 6 steamed dumplings. As a bonus, since it was before 7 p.m., the dumplings were half-price.
My wife is a cautious eater. So she chose a mixed green salad with sesame dressing and an entree of dak kalguksoo (wide noodles in chicken broth with pulled chicken, zucchini, and egg strips). I like to make dining an adventure. So, as I often do when we dine at a new place, I told the waitress to make my selection for me and make it a surprise. I promised her I would like whatever she brought. She selected kimchi jjigae (kimchi soup with pork and tofu) and duru jjigee (spice-marinated pork belly sauteed with kimchi and rice cakes with tofu on the side). The dishes made a great combination of spicy and tasty and I certainly got my kimchi quotient for the week.
In fact, if you go to Mandu (and, if you like Korean food or want to try it for the 1st time) you definitely should, go hungry. The portions are plentiful. It didn't surprise me when my wife couldn't finish her order. But it shocked both of us when I left some food on my plate. However, in my defense, I did have 4 of the 6 dumplings.
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The Prices Do DC Rating
- **** (4 out of 5 plates)