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Korean Food ? Bibimbap? Try Mandu on 18th Street NW

by Borderstan.com — April 5, 2011 at 9:15 pm 1,275 4 Comments

DC Korean food, Restaurant Mandu, 18th Street NW, Luis Gomez Photos, Borderstan

Mandu serves up traditional Korean fare at 1805 18th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Alejandra Owens of One Bite At A Time where she writes about food, cooking and even offers up some great recipes. You can also find her on Twitter [email protected]

Spring is on its way, folks! While you Borderstanis are reveling in the warmth, the tulips and the cherry blossoms, I am running around trying to eek out the last bits of Winter style eating. Braised short ribs. Hearty meat sauces. Anything braised or baked. Anything that sits a little heavy when you eat it or requires a side of a half loaf of bread to sop up meaty jous.

I checked weather.com and it looks like we have some rain coming our way. Yes! Know what some chilly, gray weather calls for? A big ‘ol hot stone bowl full of bibimbap! (Fried egg on top is a must.) Everyone has their “chicken soup” of sorts and mine is bibimbap from Mandu on 18th Street NW.

Khelan actually introduced me to the place a couple of years ago and ever since that visit, I’ve been in love with the dish. Sure, from time to time I’ll switch up my order and get bulgogi or a somyun noodle bowl, but when I’m having a bad day, I’m sick or it’s gray and awful out, I stick to my tried and true bibimbap.

Bibimbap literally means “mixed meal” in Korean. At the base of the dish is some warm white rice, topped with a mix of vegetables (carrots, mushrooms, cucumbers, bean sprouts) and spicy bean paste. Optional, but highly recommended additions to the bowl, are tender slices of beef and a fried egg. At the risk of sounding cliche, it’s a dish that warms you from the inside out.

Do you guys like Mandu? Any favorite dishes? I’m no kimchi expert, so where do we think it falls on the “authenticity” scale?

Where Am I Going? 1805 18th Street NW (east side between S and Swann Streets NW).

When Am I Going? 11:30 am to 10 pm Monday through Thursday; 11:30 am to 11 pm Friday and Saturday; and 11:30 am to 9 pm Sunday.

What You’ll be Eating: Traditional Korean fair with stand outs like kimchi, bibimbap, bulgogi and soba noodle salads. Respect the soba noodles — they’re notoriously difficult to make.

Paycheck Pain: Menu items from the grill can run up to $24 a dish — grilled marinated short ribs are (1) very tasty and (2) totally worth the money. Comfort dishes such as bibimbap clock in at $11. Bowls of warm and steamy soups are $12 to $15. If you’re feeling snackish, appetizers like beef skewers and vegetable crepes are $5 to $7.

Say What? This is a neighborhood joint through and through. Friendly vibes at the small bar and a low hum of friends and families gathering throughout the restaurant.

Comments (4)

  1. I’ve been to the one near Gallery Place, but not this one.

    They have an awesome korean brunch (sort of a breakfasty korean-themed sampler) that’s perfect for the killer hangover. Also served during brunch is a dirt cheap Soju bloody mary. If you like Soju (and, granted, not many do) it’s fantastic.

  2. Love love LOVE Mandu. Their Korean brunch plate is fantastic and their somen noodle soups are always my go-to on a cold/sick/rainy/bad etc day. Also exciting- when you order take out, they give you the complementary veggies they typically serve as well so you get lunch for the next day!

  3. Good pick! We ate there in January and loved it — and it’s a great value. Thanks!

  4. As a Korean myself, I gotta say, this place is not very good. It’s run by Koreans but the food is definitely catering towards a demographic that isn’t very familiar with Korean staples. If you want real good bbq, you’re just going to have to hoof it out to Annandale.

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