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Mandalay Restaurant


iamthestretch
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This looks like a pretty big place going in on Bonifant Street right across from Thai Derm and Roger Miller. The sign out front promises the above authentic experience; we shall see. This block is becoming an interesting ethnic dining enclave anyway, with good Thai, Cameroon(ian?) and Ethiopian around the corner at Addis Abbaba. (If you include The Quarry House I guess there's "blue-collar American" as well.) Not like there's a ton of Burmese food on offer in DC. Sietsema liked Burma in Chinatown, but I haven't been there for years. Will report back once Mandalay opens.

"Mine goes off like a rocket." -- Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, Feb. 16.

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It's the same restaurant as in College Park, MD--they're moving down the road to Silver Spring. I ate there once and absolutely loved it and I look forward to their move closer to where I live. It's pretty cheap too which is a nice plus.

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I drove past on Sunday.

They are still in the dry-wall phase of construction, but I did spy some "packaged for shipping" chairs and tables that looked like they had just arrived.

I, too, will keep my eyes open.

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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Sietsema liked Burma in Chinatown, but I haven't been there for years. Will report back once Mandalay opens.

Burma in Chinatown has crashed and burned, burned, burned, based on lunch last week. The salads were once delightful plates of ginger and cabbage and oil and vinegar and crunchies and munchies you'd never dream up. Now they are now sad and sour vinegar-drenched goosh.

fingers crossed for Mandalay.

Edited by babka (log)
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I stopped by Mandalay last night for some takeout, since I wanted to check it out before they left my neighborhood. I was very impressed by the staff, who were not only quick to acknowledge me and take my order but seemed to know almost every customer by name. It's a very welcoming place. Also, while I waited I noticed a lot of people ordering dessert, which doesn't usually seem to be the case in the inexpensive ethnic places I've been to. One couple even came in just to get dessert on their way to catch a flight to Boston. I did not order dessert last night, but you can bet I will next time to see why it's so popular!

What I did order was the Thursday special (they only have specials Thursdays and Sundays), chicken in an onion-based curry with coconut rice. The coconut rice is so good I could have eaten a bowl of it on its own; it actually tastes like coconut, unlike most I've had, and was perfectly light, fluffy, and moist. When you order, they ask you how hot you want your dish--no heat, mild, medium, or spicy. I ordered it medium to get a benchmark, and it didn't seem very hot to me at all, so it seems they have a gentle hand in that regard. I also ordered a ginger salad, which I did not get to since I was full before I'd finished half of my chicken and rice, but I'm looking forward to trying it. (Portions are generous.)

I was told that September 29th is the last day they will be open in College Park and they're shooting for an October 10 opening in Silver Spring. The restaurant currently seats between 40-50 people; the new location will have seating for about 125. They gave me a card and a menu too--their new address is 930 Bonifant Street, phone 301.585.0500; however, I was warned that the prices will "change slightly," which I took to mean they'll go up to help with the presumably-increasing rent. For what it's worth, the chicken special was $7.95 and the salad was $4.99.

Erin
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  • 1 month later...

Welcome to the neighborhood, Mandalay!! :wub:

I loved this place in College Park and am thrilled now that it's so much closer to home for me...went in last night to see how the transition has gone. The new space is about 3x the size of the old, and a step up in "decor" (ie carpeted floor, spiffy textiles on the chairs & booths). What really matters at this place though is the FOOD and that hasn't changed a bit (a good thing) :raz:

Started with the spring rolls; a generous serving (4 rolls) of very crispy little cigars filled with cabbage, pork etc...the dipping sauce is a rather alarming neon orange and adds a really yummy zip. Then we had "chicken with vegetables and brown sauce over rice" and my favorite, the "vegetarian number 6" which is flat noodles with chickpeas, bean sprouts, tofu, and romaine lettuce. Both dishes were full of flavor and nicely spiced (we always get medium heat; ordered spicy once and spent the whole meal hyperventilating with our eyes watering). The noodle dish is a wonderful unique creation; the chicken reminded me a bit of chinese but without any heavy gloppiness. Finally, dessert was the signature "Golden Swedje" which is a nice thick slice of cream-of-wheat cake with raisins.

This place is a very unpresumptuous, friendly, family owned and operated restaurant that serves up delicious burmese food at incredible prices (above meal clocked in at $24). Between this, Adega & Jackie's, Silver Spring is really turning into a great place to eat!

"What, after all, is more seductive than the prospect of sinning in libraries?"

Michael Dirda, An Open Book

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Excellent!

I will have to stop in soon.

Also don't forget Thai Derm and Roger Miller which are literally accross the street.

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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Mandalay is fantastic. We went there almost once a week when I lived in College Park, and locals (especially the starving and poor grad students) were very upset when they had to move--the old landlord didn't renew their lease and is turning the old space into an aparment building.

If you're in the neighborhood, I have to recommend the green tea leaf salad, the pork with pickled mango, and the tea. Tea there is made in a real authentic South Asian style, with condensed milk and a ton of sugar--not my personal favorite way, but it has sent my mother into "instant nostalgia."

And be careful if you ask for anything "extra spicy"--because they'll really sock it to you.

K

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Here's their Web site. Nice looking menu. I've got to be up in SS today, so there might be time for a visit. Camera's in the glove box, too; I'll try and take some pictures.

Hmmm. I was trying to figure out where to go for lunch, but this place is such a long walk from my office at the corner of Colesville Rd and Second Ave where I may be standing at around 12:30 or whatever time would be conducive to hitching a ride. :wink:

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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As promised, here are some pictures of lunch.

gallery_9511_332_1099681711.jpg

Fried Asian long green squash fritters.

gallery_9511_332_1099681745.jpg

Gram fritters -- Yellow split peas, ginger, garlic, and cilantro.

gallery_9511_332_1099681773.jpg

Green tealeaf salad -- Fermented tealeaf, tomato, and cabbage tossed with Burmese dressing, garnished with fried garlic and crispy yellow peas.

gallery_9511_332_1099681803.jpg

Pork with pickled mango curry. Ordered medium spicy.

gallery_9511_332_1099681831.jpg

Beef in onion/tomato curry with hot pepper. Ordered spicy -- it was! Mike, your weekend is going to start with a bang.

gallery_9511_332_1099681868.jpg

ShweJi -- Cream of wheat, coconut cream, sugar, raisins, and milk, topped with poppy seeds, then baked.

Everything was good. The salads are particularly interesting -- we also had one with mango but the picture didn't do it justice. Oh, and hot means hot here. You can sweat if you want to. Decor is utilitarian, service is efficient, prices are reasonable and I'm stuffed. :smile:

"Mine goes off like a rocket." -- Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, Feb. 16.

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The squash fritters weren't terribly inspiring, but everything else was quite good. The beef curry made my hair sweat. I'll definitely be back for more punishment!

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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The squash fritters weren't terribly inspiring, but everything else was quite good. The beef curry made my hair sweat. I'll definitely be back for more punishment!

The squash fritter look like greasy buggers. So, I'll take your camera's word.

...

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My parents are Burmese so I grew up on the food.

Anyways, there's another Burmese restaurant in Falls Church called Myanmar (i think). How does this compare to Mandalay?

Btw, what's your favorite Burmese dish? Mine has to be OhnNo KaukSwe (Egg noodles with chicken soup in creamy coconut soup), which is very similar to Malaysian Laksa.

Also, just wondering if anyone knew, but Thoke (as spelled in english) is traditionally eaten with their fingers. I can remember when my family would have a gathering, those who were born in burma would be eating with their fingers while those of us born here were using forks :)

Anywho, nostagalia.

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Everything was good. The salads are particularly interesting -- we also had one with mango but the picture didn't do it justice.

I agree, the salads here should be explored. My favorites -- the squid salad and the ginger salad.

"What, after all, is more seductive than the prospect of sinning in libraries?"

Michael Dirda, An Open Book

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  • 2 weeks later...

Mrs JPW, Peanut and I stopped in for lunch on Saturday. I was very happy we did so.

Started with the ginger salad which was excellent - light and refreshing.

We had two different of the pork dishes and both were very worthy. They displayed one of my top signs of a good S Asian restaurant - sauces that were very hot (as in capsaicin) but with very distinctive flavors (one sweet the other more savory).

Service was extremely friendly if almost too attentive.

There was a good crowd for lunch.

The space is large and bright.

The only downside is that I felt like I had to cower down so that the folks across the street at Thai Derm didn't see me and brand me a culinary traitor.

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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We went back Friday for a second look. The spring rolls were excellent, as were the flat rice noodles. I'm working my way up the heat ladder, but still shying away from the "extra spicy" option. Any iron tongues out there willing to take it in the tastebuds and (hopefully) live to tell the tale?

"Mine goes off like a rocket." -- Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, Feb. 16.

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We went back Friday for a second look. The spring rolls were excellent, as were the flat rice noodles. I'm working my way up the heat ladder, but still shying away from the "extra spicy" option. Any iron tongues out there willing to take it in the tastebuds and (hopefully) live to tell the tale?

"Spicy" was the top end of what the waitor offered and that's what we took.

It was plenty for me and I've been known to suck down dabs of Sriracha straight with no chaser. Anything hotter and you couldn't taste the food.

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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Mrs JPW, Peanut and I stopped in for lunch on Saturday. I was very happy we did so.

Hey, I was there for dinner Saturday! It was a full house by 6pm, I'm really glad they're doing so well.

Was there with 3 friends so could sample a nice variety of stuff....the aforementioned ginger salad, gram fritters (basically asian hush-puppies), and squash fritters (yeah they're greasy, but I like 'em). Then a noodle dish with 5 types of noodles and potatoes (great), another noodle dish with flat noodles & pork & romaine lettuce, a pork dish with a really dark sauce that reminded me of massaman curry, and finally a tofu with hot peppers that I couldn't even wrap my lips around it was so spicy :wacko:

I second the motion put forward by Al_Dente for a Burmese Mandalay egullet outing. :biggrin:

"What, after all, is more seductive than the prospect of sinning in libraries?"

Michael Dirda, An Open Book

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I've had the room-temperature noodles with chicken extra spicy. Wasn't offered the option--I asked for it specifically, as I was feeling the need to sweat a little.

And it was hot. Correction: HOT.

If you haven't tried any of the room-temperature noodle dishes, they are highly recommended. Like the salads, I think they are pretty unique and equally delicious.

K

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We visited Mandalay on Friday night. We enjoyed it so much we ordered takeout from there again on Sunday!

On Friday we tried the gram fritters as an appetizer. These little guys looked like donuts, but were a little too greasy. While the texture was nice the flavor was not very pronounced so you really needed to pour on the sauce that comes with it. We definitely needed extra napkins here! I think I'll try the spring rolls next time.

We ordered two noodle dishes after reading about the room temperature noodles. One was the wide noodle (room temp) with curry chicken, cabbage, carrot, fried onions and peanuts with Burmese dressing - excellent! I ordered it medium spicy but might go for hot next time to try. The medium spicy did not seem all that spicy to me.

Th other dish was the wide noodle with pork, shrimp, and egg ordered with mild spice. This dish was also very good but again I'd probably up the spiciness next time just 'cause I like it!

Sunday came around and we were hankering for a good lunch after having carpets installed. We ordered another room temp noodle dish - the mixed noodles with fried tofu and veggies with medium spice (had to share :wacko: ). Truly wonderful. I am loving these room temperature noodles!!! My better half ordered the shrimp with onions and peppers in a brown sauce. He loved it, but he ordered it with no spice. I had a hard time distinguishing the flavor after eating my yummy noddles, so I can't vouch for that dish. However, Mr P seemed to like it.

The prices here are accessible - 6.99 - 8.99 for the average dish. It looks like they are adding tables to accomodate the growing crowd. We waited approx 15 minutes for our table, and it was worth the wait.

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They're definitely pulling a good crowd, as evinced by the chaos on Saturday night when they closed down for a family wedding and everybody who had turned up not knowing this then tried to squeeze in to Thai Derm across the street, making me have to wait an hour for my carryout. :angry: On the plus side, I had panang gai for breakfast this morning.

"Mine goes off like a rocket." -- Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, Feb. 16.

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They're definitely pulling a good crowd, as evinced by the chaos on Saturday night when they closed down for a family wedding and everybody who had turned up not knowing this then tried to squeeze in to Thai Derm across the street, making me have to wait an hour for my carryout. :angry: On the plus side, I had panang gai for breakfast this morning.

Swerving off topic for a second two words to go with Thai Derm - Nam Sod.

Try it.

Edited by JPW (log)

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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  I ordered it medium spicy but might go for hot next time to try.  The medium spicy did not seem all that spicy to me. 

i'm at the point where if given the option i order stuff as spicy as they make it. still, i've never gotten anything really spicy. maybe they are afraid someone complaining, or a lawsuit or something.

I wanna say something. I'm gonna put it out there; if you like it, you can take it, if you don't, send it right back. I want to be on you.

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