Mandu Korean Restaurant

November 23, 2008

In order to celebrate my birthday, my boyfriend took me out for Korean food. He ate it often while living in Japan and assured me that I would fall in love with a Korean favorite called bibimbap. We arrived at Mandu at 7:30pm on a Saturday night and had no trouble getting a table for two. The atmosphere was warm and inviting- dark wood floors, soft, glowy lighting, and delicious smells that hung heavy in the air.

We started with cocktails. I had the aloe sojutini which was light, refreshing and had a slight grape-like flavor. For starters we ordered the vegetable dumplings (half fried and half steamed) and seafood pancakes. Both were served with a soy dipping sauce. The dumplings were stuffed full of a well-seasoned vegetable mixture and the actual dumpling was light and melted in the mouth-rather than the typical gummy, chewy dumpling. The seafood pancakes were not at all what I imagined. They had a slightly crunchy outside, bready inside, a fresh off-the-griddle flavor and were stuffed with scallions. They were so delicious, I could have eaten an entire plate of them without any help. Next, we had spicy seafood soup with egg and tofu (there were not many vegetarian friendly soups on the menu). The texture of the tofu was like butter and the broth of the soup had heat without burning the mouth or throat. Finally, it was time to try the main dish- bibimbap. We were presented with a clay bowl of scalding hot rice topped with egg, spinach, shitake mushrooms, and onions. We stirred all the ingredients into the rice to cook and added a spicy red bean paste that gave the dish a mild heat. The entree was one of the most delicous things I’ve eaten. The flavors of the veggies and the crunchy pockets of rice that had cooked to the side of the clay pot were a treat I looked forward to with each bite.

The meal was perfect on a cold DC night. It warmed my spirit, filled my belly, and didn’t break the bank. I highly recommend Mandu to vegetarians and meat lovers alike, as well as to anyone who loves their comfort food but wants to branch out from time to time.

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{ 1 comment }

ltorbett November 26, 2008 at 9:43 am

love mandu! great description and pics, girl!

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