Last night, my wife and I had the pleasure of dining in Mandu, in Washington DC. The restaurant we ate in was on 1805 18th St, in a quaint, but rather modern upscale setting. We sat and ordered several appetizers (we tried the house Mandu with pork and beef, the pajeon, and the san jeok snack). Afterwards, we shared a portion of their kalbi and one of their pulgogi. Ban chan was of course served with our main course; they offered us a very delicious selection of several kimchis which we ate with gusto. The waitress was quite generous with refilling our helpings and i believe that we went through 3-4 servings!
Overall, I was really very pleased with the restaurant. The food was very good. One dish we really were impressed by was the pajeon; while the servings were small by traditional standards, they really were able to get a very nice, crisp structure to these mini pancakes. Really very delicious!
I think as well that the marinade for the meat was extremely well executed. It was more suttle than perhaps other Korean BBQ houses would produce, but it really was delicious and I had a hard time to stop eating!
As well, I think that the service there was really great. The waitress was really cute, very bubbly and fun and was very good about attending to our needs.
As an alternative to travelling 40 plus minutes out to Annandale or Vienna VA for Korean food in the Washington DC area, I would recommend this restaurant to those that are interested in tasting really good, fresh Korean food, with an upscale twist, while also dining in a casual atmosphere. While I'd say that everything wasn't 100% traditional (vegetables served with the meat for ex. were delicious, but not what one normally expects), I think Mandu brings a fresh feel to Korean food that is approachable by Korean clientele and Western clientele.
One drawback for the restaurant was the price of some items on the menu. We drank a bottle of San Soju with our meal that cost us $18. I feel that's pretty strong, especially in comparison to prices in the Annandale area for the same soju. Meals however for downtown Washington were moderately priced and if I were to say whether I thought they were worth the ending bill, I'd have to say, we were left satisfied.
So, please, if you're in Washington and get a craving for Korean, but don't want to trek to the Northern VA area, try Mandu!
It's worth the trip to do so!