June 4, 2011

Korean Dumplings in DC

It has taken me a while to learn to appreciate Korean food and I am by no mean an expert on the subject. However, it is one of my husband’s favorite cuisines so we recently decided to try Mandu Restaurant on 18th Street near Dupont Circle.

The restaurant is larger than it first appears with upstairs and downstairs dining rooms, a bar, and seating on the patio in warm weather. The atmosphere is hip and trendy and the service is excellent.

The restaurant’s namesake, Mandu are dumplings and we ordered some pan-fried dumplings to start. For a main course I got seafood jeon and Jonathan had bulgogi. The food was served very promptly here. The first thing the waiter brought to our table were the banchan (small dishes of food to go with our meal). In this case the banchan were tofu, pickled cucumbers, bean sprouts, spiced fish cake, and kimchi. We started trying the different tastes treats while we waited for our dumplings. These were by far my favorite part of the meal. My jeon was also good. On the menu it was described as small seafood pancakes, however, I think a more accurate description would be to call it a seafood omelet. That said, it was very good and consisted of shrimp and white fish that were coated in egg and pan-fried. Jonathan thoroughly enjoyed his bulgogi (grilled beef) and was delighted to be eating one of his favorite types of food.

This is not a truly classic Korean restaurant. However, it is not quite a fusion restaurant either. I noticed individual on Yelp describe the food at Mandu as Korean with an American accent. It is very good and close to authentic Korean cuisine, adjusted just a little for American tastes.

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