Brunch in DC is the norm on the weekends. But where does a girl go for a food fix at 4pm on a Sunday? Logical first move was to scout 14th Street in Midtown, without much luck for two girls looking for grub.
It looked like Masa 14 was open with 3 people seated by the bar, but the hostess didn’t even look at us and continued her phone conversation. Forget about that kind of service, next place: Bar Pilar. I usually quite enjoy this cozy cavern of libations and tapas, but the overwhelming smell of stale beer from Saturday night was too much for us and we turned around at the door. On to try our luck at Saint-Ex.
Saint-Ex is a fave on my brunch list, but by 4pm our only option was the dinner menu. Not ready for serious dining quite yet! Onwards, march!
Policy across the street usually has great smaller plates to nibble on, could we get a coffee with that maybe? The door was open, a good sign. But once inside, we realized the group at the table was a gathering for a staff meeting, and the looks we got had us quickly out the door. Again.
We gave up on 14th street and headed towards Chinatown. Since my friend had not tried Mandu yet, we decided this would be our destination of choice. The restaurant was almost empty…but they were open for business!
This new location at 453 K street NW has quickly morphed into a Mt. Vernon Square dining destination. The opening events were very inclusive of the neighborhood and the food and drink on my many dining occasions have been delicious. This time, we opted out of the sojutinis and decided on dumplings and the Korean signature dish dolsot bibim bap: rice, veggies, beef and spicy bean paste served in a hot stone bowl, big enough for 2 to share.
Our server surprised us with an appetizer plate with a variety of vegetables, which he explained is part of the Korean dining tradition. He further showed us how to mix in the spicy bean paste with the bibim bap and how to press the rice up against the bowl for a ‘crispy rice’ effect. We enjoyed our fried and steamed dumplings in addition with everything else and were so satisfied with the food that we could not believe our bill combined was only $20!
Thank you Mandu for coming through for two starving girls who had a wonderful experience on a Sunday afternoon. The food and service was great, and it’s not a surprise that by the time we left, every table was filled and the bar was buzzing.