In the final analysis—go, Go, GO.
Everything was great, much was fantastic.
Don’t let traditional dish names or appearances sway your enjoyment of some slightly nontraditional flavours.
6 ‘Hounds were able to meet on Tuesday 6/11/13 for dinner; 2 couples plus TeenHound and me. Three people had spent significant time in New Orleans and two had lived in Korea, so we had a certain level of culinary expectation.
MoKoMandy fulfilled them all.
Setting—much like a bistro, probably seats ~40 [maaaaybe 60 crammed in?]. A glass and bamboo look without a cold tech feel. Kitchen is slightly visible through a wide open pass. Although tables are pretty close, high ceilings and full widows add a lightness to the atmosphere.
Waitstaff—solid, cheerful, energized. Gave a history of the restaurant origin and detailed the menu. Our water glasses were continuously yet surreptitiously refilled.
How we ate—when each dish arrived, we just passed them around the table. Therefore, everyone took a section or half an item. About halfway into dinner, TeenHound and I were contemplating drive-thru afterwards because we felt we weren’t getting that much food. However, by the time we’d consumed all our bits and bites of everything, we felt like gorged boa constrictors wending our way across the parking lot to the car. An hour later, we felt FULLER [so no “Chinese food” effect] and despaired that last beignet.
As a group, we ordered the following:
SNACKS & SIDES ($$3 each OR 3 for $7)
Spicy Kimchi – the balanced kind that was cold, crisp, and had a sour/fermented tang underlying the spice
Purple Rice—probably the least successful, as it was very firm, like a brown rice, instead of the anticipated “Korean Breakfast rice” style which is soft and nearly gooey.
Kimchi Pancakes—we even ordered a second round of these; they were much like a crisp with a little shredded kimchi, served with a light soy dipping sauce
Cracklins—came to us hot and light but not greasy. Don’t know how they’d be at room temp—they didn’t last that long!
Fried Kale Chips—these were a bit greasy, but also hot, airy, and nicely crispy. Some folks wanted a touch more salt.
Deviled Eggs--bacon, house spice blend ($5)
Perfect mouthful bites. We were reminded of pimiento cheese, in a good way.
Korean Potroast sliders--kimchi’d apples, radish sprouts, fried steamed buns ($10)
Very popular. Potroast was the “pulled” style. The buns were possibly potato bread.
Foie Gras Dumplings--braised duck, sesame, radishes, house-made plum sauce ($13)
Stunning. Just incredible. Made in the “beggar’s purse” shape and absolutely full of the foie filling. Everyone’s first reaction was an incredulous “WOW!!”
Bulgogi Beef--julienned petite-filet, soy marinade, laver, purple rice, white rice, black garlic, banchan ($14)
Another absolute favourite. The marinade was caramelized onto the meat; the pieces were not the more traditional super-thin bulgogi style but more substantial [not chewy though] stripes of delectable meat.
Wild Boar Bowl--fried egg, braised wild boar, pork-kimchi, rice, korean accoutrement, kochujang, laver ($12)
Came in a DolSot-style bowl, which was not superheated. Looked like a BiBimBap but had a slightly different flavor and spice mix; excellent but not quite traditional
Shrimp Étoufée--shrimp, rice, trinity, butter, shrimp chips, house spice blend ($14)
TeenHound thought this looked like a Thai dish. Former denizens of NO thought it wasn’t a “real” étoufée—the sauce was quite good but this dish possibly was the weakest just because the name generated expectations of a particular dish. The shrimp was cooked to perfection.
Modern Korean Scallops-- glazed sweet potato, pea puree, sake bok choy, kochu mayonnaise, herb-orange essence ($20)
Oi. Perfect scallops, each sitting on a sweet potato chip/pancake that was, by itself, also superb.
Crème brûlée with vanilla and lavender cream. Perfectly sealed hard caramelized top with a solid yet fluffy center. Not overly rich but maybe a little heavy after a tapas/bites meal.
Beignet, 2 orders. Hot, light, fluffy, not perfectly traditional but definitely much better than just acceptable. Each plate came with 4 “schmeers” of decorative sauce, which weren’t really enough. The two previous MoKoMandy diners in our party said that their first time, the beignets had come with small bowls of dipping sauce. Contrarily, when in the end we needed to box a few to go, we were offered a small container of “our favourite sauce.”