Korean Cajun at Mokomandy

20789 Great Falls Plaza
Sterling, VA 20165

Korean Cajun Fusion | $$


The restaurant is in a busy strip mall next to a Dunkin Donuts.



The menu is made of Korean Cajun small plates. This was a nice deviled egg with bacon and a house spice blend.



Korean Pot Roast Sliders with Kimchi’d Apples, Radish Sprouts, on a Fried Steamed Buns. The sweetness of the Kimchi’d apples pair nicely with the flavorful Korean Pot Roast. The crispy bun is a pleasant touch.



The Foie Gras Duck Dumplings with Braised duck, Sesame, Radishes, and a house-made Plum Sauce. This was hands down our favorite. The dumpling had a wonderful flavor and just the right crispiness. The braised duck was the best I have had. The plum sauce was delicious. On our next visit, I will ask for more so I can dip the dumpling.


The Cajun Cassoulet with Duck, Tasso, Sausage, Bacon, Tarbais Rouge Beans, Duck Fat and Herb Bread Crumbs topping was the most interesting dish of the night. It has a wide-ranging flavor profile starting with the duck fat bread crumbs and diving down into a mixture of Tasso ham, sausage, and bacon.


Shrimp & Roasted Garlic Grits with Chili, Shrimp, Butter, Scallions, and Lemon. The shrimp was cooked perfectly. The grits had a nice smooth texture and mild garlic taste. The crispy scallions gave the dish a pleasant crunch.

August 23, 2017 at 0714PM 2017-08-23T23_14_06

Fingerling Potatoes cooked in Duck Fat and Roasted Garlic.


For dessert my wife chose the Lemon Butter Mochi Cake & Raspberry Sorbet with a warm chewy rice cake with a touch of coconut, steen’s cane syrup. She really enjoyed this.


My dessert was the Beignets with Caramel Sauce. I would not order these again. The caramel was on the plate and I could not get much of it to transfer to the beignet. The cake was good but they were large and we took most of it home.

Fusion food can be gimmicky and is often disappointing. There is nothing disappointing about Mokomandy. Each plate was a well thought out blend of Korean and Cajun. Executive Chef Daniel Wilcox Stevens, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, creates some dishes more Korean and some more Cajun, resisting the temptation to play it safe with  a faux fusion of Korean or Cajun only dishes. The service is excellent. I would recommend reservations since we were there on a Wednesday night and the tables filled quickly. The noise level was in the hard to hear range when the restaurant was completely full.

RAMMY Awards 2017

Here is a list of the 2017 Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington award winners. Congratulations to all the recipients.

New Restaurant of the Year: Hazel

Formal Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year: minibar by José Andrés

Chef of the Year: Tarver King, The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm

Pastry Chef of the Year: Jemil Gadea, Masseria

Rising Culinary Star of the Year: Ryan Ratino, Ripple

Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year: Proof

Casual Restaurant of the Year: Compass Rose Bar + Kitchen

Upscale Brunch of the Year: Convivial

Employee of the Year: Joseph Cassis, PassionFish Bethesda

Manager of the Year: John Grace, The Hamilton

Regional Food and Beverage Producer of the Year: DC Brau Brewing Company

Restaurateur of the Year: Ike Grigoropoulos, Dimitri Moshovitis, Ted Xenohristos, Brett Schulman, Cava Group, Inc.

Favorite Gathering Place of the Year: Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

Casual Brunch of the Year: Republic

Favorite Fast Bites of the Year: Cava Grill

Beer Program of the Year: Jack Rose Dining Saloon

Cocktail Program of the Year: Kapnos by Mike Isabella

Wine Program of the Year: Charlie Palmer Steak

Joan Hisaoka Allied Member of the Year: Acme Paper & Supply Co., Inc.

Service Program of the Year: The Source by Wolfgang Puck

2017 JBF Restaurant and Chef Awards


2017 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards

Best New Restaurant
Le Coucou

Outstanding Baker
Mark Furstenberg
Bread Furst
Washington, D.C.

Outstanding Bar Program
Arnaud’s French 75 Bar
New Orleans

Outstanding Chef
Michael Solomonov

Outstanding Pastry Chef
Ghaya Oliveira

Outstanding Restaurant

Outstanding Restaurateur
Stephen Starr
Starr Restaurants (Le Coucou, Serpico, Upland, and others)

Outstanding Service
Blue Hill at Stone Barns
Pocantico Hills, NY

Outstanding Wine Program

Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional
Sam Calagione
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Milton, DE

Rising Star Chef of the Year
Zachary Engel
New Orleans

Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH)
Sarah Grueneberg

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (D.C., DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)
Greg Vernick
Vernick Food & Drink

Best Chef: Midwest (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI)
Kevin Nashan
Sidney Street Cafe
St. Louis

Best Chef: New York City (Five Boroughs)
Marco Canora

Best Chef: Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, NY State, RI, VT)
Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley
Eventide Oyster Co.
Portland, ME

Best Chef: Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY)
Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton and Greg Denton
Portland, OR

Best Chef: South (AL, AR, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, FL, LA, MS)
Rebecca Wilcomb
New Orleans

Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV)
Steven Satterfield
Miller Union

Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, CO, NM, OK, TX, UT)
Hugo Ortega

Best Chef: West (CA, HI, NV)
Corey Lee
San Francisco


2017 America’s Classics Awards

Bertha’s Kitchen
Charleston, SC
Owners: Julia Grant, Linda Pinckney, and Sharon Coakley

Gioia’s Deli
St. Louis
Owner: Alex Donley

La Taqueria
San Francisco
Owner: Miguel Jara

Brooklyn, NY
Owners: Christine Sahadi Whelan, and Ron Sahadi

Schultz’s Crab House
Essex, MD
Owners: Karen and Bob McKinney


2017 JBF Humanitarian of the Year

Denise Cerreta
One World Everybody Eats
Salt Lake City


2017 JBF Lifetime Achievement Award

Nora Pouillon
Restaurant Nora
Washington, D.C.

Birthdays at the Warrior Retreat at Bull Run

I have the distinct honor and privilege of volunteering at the Warrior Retreat at Bull Run. The retreat is a 2.5 million dollar 11,000 sq. ft. home on 37 acres in Haymarket, Virginia. We invite wounded Warriors and their families out from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital to spend 5 days out of the hospital and rehab environment.

I am the lead on the Visiting Chef Program. On Sunday night during each guest stay we invite chefs from the area to come out and prepare extraordinary meals for the wounded warrior and their family. Last night was the Warrior’s birthday dinner with 10 friends and family and I thought I would invite some special chefs.


Our Chefs from left to right:

Sierra Tyler, USN Assistant Chef to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Warrior’s son, who learned how to be a Sous Chef
Jason Rohrs, USGC Chef to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Ken Gardner, Executive Event Chef Warrior Retreat at Bull Run
Jim Cole, Resident Sous Chef Warrior Retreat at Bull Run

Chef Rohrs Menu 01222017

Each warrior completes an application to come to the retreat that includes about 20 food questions. Gluten free, allergies, spice tolerance, favorite dishes etc. The answers to the questions go to the Visiting Chef to help them design a 4 course meal.


The Warrior’s son learned what it was like to be a Sous Chef.


Filet Mignon is ready for searing and the oven.


Just about done searing and then into the oven.


There is always prep work.


Chicken Posole cooking.


Tortilla sliced up and crisped in vegetable oil.


Preparing the first course of Chicken Posole Cilantro, Lime, Crema, and Tortilla Crisps


Plating the salad course.


Apple and Brussel Salad Pecans, Shallots, Gorgonzola, and a Champagne Vinaigrette


Here comes the main course.


Filet Mignon Mushroom Lasagna, Parsnip, Green Beans, and Demi-Glace



The birthday cake was created by Brenda Wilks with our amazing Bakers on Call Team. Bakers on Call are more than 30 volunteer home bakers who make sure the Warrior’s favorite fresh baked goods are waiting for them when they arrive for their stay. The Bakers on Call have just started supporting the Visiting Chef Program. Most of our chefs are savory with just basic pastry skills. We looked at increasing the involvement of our Baker’s on Call Team and they are now doing much of the custom dessert work for Visiting Chef Night. The Chef is welcome to make dessert if they like, but most of relieved not doing it.


Everyone had a great time and loved the food.

If you would like to see more pictures from this dinner and other Visiting Chef Night dinners visit our Flickr.com page. If you are a chef and would like to learn more about how you can volunteer and give back please see the Visiting Chef Program web page.

Lunch at Roots 657

Roots 657 Café & Local Market
42301 Spinks Ferry Road
Leesburg, VA 20176

Sandwiches – BBQ | $

Chef / Co-Owner Rich Rosendale has created a high-end sandwich mecca just north of Leesburg, VA on Rt. 15. Rosendale is an ACF Certified Master Chef. According to his web page he has trained and mentored under famed chefs Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, and Grant Achatz. With Chefs de Cuisine Danny Sterling and Joe Peroney there is never a time when a chef does not have an eye on the food.


There is a strong collection of soups, salads, and sandwiches on the menu to satisfy just about everyone.


Coffee, bottled soft drinks, wine, and tap beer are all available.


My wife began with the pleasingly different Six Onion Soup. Expecting the traditional thin brown salty onion broth, we were surprised by the creamy richness of this version. It was not overly salty and had just the right savory onion flavor.


For her entre my wife ordered the pulled pork with a mac and cheese side. Topped with a wonderful creamy coleslaw and BBQ sauce. She loved the pulled pork and would eagerly order it again.


I could not pass on the brisket sandwich. The brisket comes on a toasted Jalapeno-cheddar roll with a corn pudding side. Chef de Cuisine Joe Peroney told me the brisket is smoked for a minimum of 18 hours. This is some of the best brisket I have had. Super tender with a deep smoke flavor that is not over powering. Chef does a masterful job of smoking the brisket to get the licorice-black shiny lacquer bark that comes from the right combination of rub, temperature, and smoke.

If you are anywhere close to Leesburg don’t pass up the chance to stop at Roots 657 for great food. The best news is the meats and sides are available for carry out by the pound.

James Beard Foundation 2016 Award Winners

JBF Award Medallion

The winners for this year’s James Beard Foundation awards were announced in Chicago last night. Here are the chefs and restaurant winners. Congratulations to them all.

Rising Star Chef of the Year
A chef age 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.

Daniela Soto-Innes, Cosme, NYC

Best Chefs
Chefs who have set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions. Eligible candidates may be from any kind of dining establishment and must have been working as a chef for at least five years with the three most recent years spent in the region.

Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH)

Curtis Duffy, Grace, Chicago

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (D.C., DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)

Aaron Silverman, Rose’s Luxury, Washington, D.C.

Best Chef: Midwest (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI)

Paul Berglund, The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis

Best Chef: New York City (Five Boroughs)

Jonathan Waxman, Barbuto

Best Chef: Northeast (CT, MA, ME, MH, NY STATE, RI, VT)

Zak Pelaccio, Fish & Game, Hudson, NY

Best Chef: Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY)

Renee Erickson, The Whale Wins, Seattle

Best Chef: South (AL, AR, FL, LA, MS, PR)

Justin Devillier, La Petite Grocery, New Orleans

Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV)

Tandy Wilson, City House, Nashville

Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, CO, NM, OK, TX, UT)

Justin Yu, Oxheart, Houston

Best Chef: West (CA, HI, NV)

Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, Animal, Los Angeles

2016 James Beard Foundation America’s Classics

Al Ameer Restaurant, Dearborn, MI Owners: Khalil Ammar and Zaki Hashem

Brooks’ House of BBQ, Oneonta, NY Owners: Beth and Ryan Brooks

Bully’s Restaurant, Jackson, MS
Owners: Tyrone Bully and Greta Brown Bully

Matt’s Place Drive-In, Butte, MT Owners: Robin and Brad Cockhill

Rancho de Chimayó Restaurante, Chimayo, NM Owner: Florence Jaramillo

2016 James Beard Foundation Outstanding Restaurant Design Awards

75 Seats and Under
For the best restaurant design or renovation in North America since January 1, 2013

Firm: Demian Repucci Design
Designer: Demian Repucci
Project: Bruno, NYC

Firm: Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Designers: Renzo Piano Building Workshop in Collaboration with Cooper Robertson Project: Untitled, NYC

76 Seats and Over
For the best restaurant design or renovation in North America since January 1, 2013

Firm: Land and Sea Dept.
Designers: Mode Carpentry, Land and Sea Dept. (Robert McAdams, Jon Martin, Peter Toalson, and Cody Hudson)
Project: Cherry Circle Room, Chicago

Design Icon

The Four Seasons Restaurant, NYC

2016 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards

Best New Restaurant
A restaurant opened in the calendar year before the award will be given that already displays excellence in food, beverage, and service, and that is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.

Shaya, New Orleans

Outstanding Baker
A chef or baker who prepares breads, pastries or desserts in a retail bakery, and who serves as a national standard-bearer of excellence. Must have been a baker or pastry chef for at least five years.

Joanne Chang, Flour Bakery + Café, Boston

Outstanding Bar Program
A restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence in cocktail, spirits and/or beer service.

Maison Premiere, Brooklyn, NY

Outstanding Chef
A working chef in America whose career has set national industry standards and who has served as an inspiration to other food professionals. Eligible candidates must have been working as a chef for the past five years.

Suzanne Goin, Lucques, Los Angeles

Outstanding Pastry Chef
A chef or baker who prepares desserts, pastries or breads in a restaurant, and who serves as a national standard bearer of excellence. Must have been a pastry chef or baker for the past five years.

Dahlia Narvaez, Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles

Outstanding Restaurant
A restaurant in the United States that serves as a national standard bearer of consistent quality and excellence in food, atmosphere and service. Eligible restaurants must have been in operation 10 or more consecutive years.

Alinea, Chicago

Outstanding Restaurateur
A working restaurateur who sets high national standards in restaurant operations and entrepreneurship. Candidates must have been in the restaurant business for at least 10 years. Candidates must not have been nominated for a James Beard Foundation chef award in the past five years.

Ken Friedman, NYC (The Spotted Pig, The Breslin, Tosca Café)

Outstanding Service
A restaurant in operation five or more years that demonstrates high standards of hospitality and service.

Eleven Madison Park, NYC

Outstanding Wine Program
A restaurant in operation five or more years that serves as a standard bearer for excellence in wine service through a well-presented wine list, knowledgeable staff, and efforts to educate customers about wine.

Bern’s Steakhouse, Tampa, FL

Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional

A beer, wine or spirits professional who has made a significant national impact on the restaurant industry.

Ron Cooper, Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, Ranchos de Taos, NM Miljenko Grgich,