In our continuing quest to eat at all the neighborhood restaurants, we decided to try Mandu, a Korean restaurant a few blocks from our apartment. Now, I have never had Korean food before, so I can’t compare it to other restaurants, but it was quite good. We managed to arrive five minutes before the end of happy hour, which meant $2 Tiger beer and cheap mandu (dumplings). In addition to the dumplings, which were quite good, we were served several small dishes of vegetables and tofu. We weren’t really sure what they all were, but everything was tasty, even the quite spicy kimchee.
For my entree, I decided to try the bibim bap. Upon the advice of our waiter, I ordered it in a stone pot. Basically, the dish is a rice bowl with vegetables and meat and a fried egg. It comes with a spicy sauce to put on the top. The stone pot is heated and so the rice fries a bit as it sits. Once the waiter explained to me that you needed to mix it all together with the sauce, I found the dish was very tasty. The sauce on the side allows you to choose how spicy you want your meal to be. My one petty complaint would be that the dish never really cooled off to a comfortable temperature, as the stone pot kept it quite hot. While at first it was nice, eventually it is nice for your food to cool a bit.
My dining companion chose dwejee bulgoki, which is grilled and marinated pork with rice and vegetables. When it came, he remarked that it looked a lot like fajitas. Although there was the complaint that there were too many vegetables, he found the meat very tasty and overall enjoyed the meal.
Because I have no measure of comparison, I cannot say that Mandu offers the best of Korean food. I’m sure it is somewhat Americanized for its customers. Regardless, we enjoyed the meal. The restaurant is comfortable and the food was good. It is a good neighborhood place to go for a reasonably priced meal.
~ The GFF