Korean Cajun at Mokomandy

Mokomandy
20789 Great Falls Plaza
Sterling, VA 20165
571-313-0505
http://www.mokomandy.com

Korean Cajun Fusion | $$

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Fingerling Potatoes cooked in Duck Fat and Roasted Garlic.

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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.

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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.

Flint Hill Public House & Country Inn

Flint Hill Public House & Country Inn
675 Zachary Taylor Hwy
Flint Hill, VA 22627
540-675-1700
http://www.flinthillva.com

American | $$

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A lovely remodeled hundred year old school is home to the restaurant and inn.

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The décor is modern with the brave choice of white chairs.

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My wife started with a wonderful rich Corn Chowder made with Sweet Corn, Bacon, Potatoes, Thyme, and Cream.

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For her entrée she picked the House Salad with Bibb and Romaine Lettuce, Caramelized Grape Tomatoes, English Cucumber, Red Onion, and Manchego Cheese & Sherry Vinaigrette.

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My entrée was the 10oz grass fed beef Flint Hill Burger with Gorgonzola Cheese, Bacon, Red Onion, and Mayo. The beef was flavorful and a perfect medium. Gorgonzola has a bite and is not for everyone. I would order this again but ask for a milder cheese like Swiss or Munster.

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For a side I picked the Mac N Cheese with Extra Sharp Cheddar, Caramelized Shallots, and Feta. Who doesn’t love shells for their Mac N Cheese. The feta topping was a nice choice to mute some of the sharp cheddar.

Flint Hill is in the beautiful rolling Virginia countryside. It is a nice drive on a Sunday afternoon. We arrived early and were the only customers for most of our dinner so I have no idea about the noise level. The service was good but it is hard not be be attentive to your only customer. Now through mid November I would recommend reservations. The changing leaves of fall bring a lot of visitors to the area.

Maxie’s Supper Club

Maxie’s Supper Club and Oyster Bar
635 W. State St.
Ithaca, NY 14850
607-272-4136
http://maxies.com/

Cajun | $$

Maxie's Supper Club

Maxie’s is hard to miss. It’s in a large converted single family home at the corner of S. Fulton St. and W. State St.

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I started with an awesome Crab and Corn Chowder. With the large chunks of crab it was flavorful and the perfect consistency of a classic chowder.

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My wife had the Maxie’s Mighty-Mighty Gumbo with Chicken, Andouille, Crawfish, and Rice.

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The cornbread was like grandma made, perfect.

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For her entrée my wife chose the Cracker-Crusted Oysters and loved them.

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My wife added Braised Collard Greens as a side. She said they were the best she has had.

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I ordered the Shrimp & Grits with a Grilled Andouille Sausage.The grits were smooth and creamy with shrimp cooked perfectly. The Andouille had a great spicy flavor. This is the best Cajun food I have had and probably the finest Cajun food found outside of New Orleans.

Service was great and the noise level was low on the Thursday night we were there. They have 30 minute call ahead in place of reservations and some covered outside seating. They have live entertainment often and a vibrant bar scene.

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

Dinner at Field & Main

Field & Main Restaurant
8369 W Main St.
Marshall, VA 20115
(540) 364-8166
http://www.fieldandmainrestaurant.com/

American | $$

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The restaurant is in a nearly 200-year-old home that owners Star and Neal Wavra painstakingly renovated for more than a year. Star and Neal Wavra are not new to the restaurant business. They previously ran the Ashby Inn in Paris, VA where then Chef Tarver King was at the forefront of the local farm-to-table movement.

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The setting and service are first rate.

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Our first appetizer was the Dirty Rice with Carolina Gold Rice, Andouille Sausage, Whiffletree Farm Chicken Liver, and Cherry Tomato. A nice refreshing summertime dish.

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For our second appetizer we chose the Hearth Roasted Beet with Pecan Butter Dust, Sorghum Syrup, Frisee, Charred Cherry and Pecans. The roasted beet was exceptional.

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For my entrée, I chose the Middleburg Montessori Pork Chop with Miso Mustard and Golden Raisin Mostarda. The pork chop is from the Middleburg Montessori School where students raise Duroc and Berkshire breeds of pig. It was tender and moist with a full flavor. Mostarda is an Italian condiment like what Americans know as chutney. The sweet Golden Raisin Mostarda paired nicely with the Miso Mustard for a wonderful balance.

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My wife had the Seared Scallops with Cucumber Gazpacho, Cucumber-Fennel-Heirloom Salad with a Magnolia Vinaigrette. The picture says it all.

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As a side my wife ordered Braised Collard Greens with Hocks. I wasn’t born in the South so I’m not a collards kind of person. My wife and a friend who joined us both raved about them.

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Great coffee from the roaster Black Dog Coffee in Shenandoah Junction, WV.

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Dessert couldn’t come fast enough for us. My wife ordered the Hearth Roasted Peaches with Candied Bacon, Bourbon Caramel Cake and Vanilla Ice Cream. At home, we grill peaches then serve with smoked brown sugar, so I knew these done with Candied Bacon would be awesome. The dish did not disappoint. The soft warm peaches paired with (everything is better with) bacon was wonderful.

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My curiosity would not let me order anything other than the Corn Pudding Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache, Toasted Meringue and Corn Ice Cream. My wife makes a mean corn pudding so I was intrigued with corn pudding cake. I liked it but my brain had issues with pieces of corn in my cake. I usually pick a chocolate cake so a cake with something chewy in it was very different. The flavor was spot on, I just spent a lot of time thinking about the corn. The ganache was great, especially over the crunchy toasted meringue.

Culinary Institute of America trained Chef Anthony Nelson has done a great job with the menu, using locally grown ingredients from sustainably raised farms he has quickly gained a following with locals. Marshall, VA has become quite the foodie destination. Across from Field & Main is upscale grocery and sandwich shop Gentle Harvest, next door is the well-known Red Truck Bakery, and just up the street is the wonderful Whole Ox Butcher which recently re-located from The Plains. Marshall is near the wealthy communities of Middleburg and The Plains, home to discriminating diners who eat out often. During dinner, more than half of the customers coming or going were known to the staff by name. Reservations are a must.

Dinner is served Thursday to Monday from 5:30pm to 9:00pm. They are closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. If you are looking for a nice drive in the country brunch is served on Saturday and Sunday from 11:00am to 2:00pm. Find your way to Marshall soon, you won’t be disappointed.

2017 JBF Restaurant and Chef Awards

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2017 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards

Best New Restaurant
Le Coucou
NYC

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

Outstanding Bar Program
Arnaud’s French 75 Bar
New Orleans

Outstanding Chef
Michael Solomonov
Zahav
Philadelphia

Outstanding Pastry Chef
Ghaya Oliveira
Daniel
NYC

Outstanding Restaurant
Topolobampo
Chicago

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

Outstanding Service
Blue Hill at Stone Barns
Pocantico Hills, NY

Outstanding Wine Program
Canlis
Seattle

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

Rising Star Chef of the Year
Zachary Engel
Shaya
New Orleans

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

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

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
Hearth

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
Ox
Portland, OR

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

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

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

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

Sahadi’s
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.

Ciao Osteria an Authentic Italian Eatery

Ciao Wood-Fired Pizza & Osteria
14115 St. Germain Dr.
Centreville, VA 20121
703-543-8955
http://www.ciao-osteria.com

Italian | $$

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Tucked away in a busy Centreville strip mall is one of Northern Virginia best Italian restaurants. Ciao Osteria has received an OpenTable Diners’ Choice award in 2014, 2015, and 2016, Best of NOVA 2015 and 2016 by Northern Virginia Magazine, and 4.5 rating and Certificate of Excellence 2016 on TripAdvisor. It should go without saying, reservations are recommended.

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The delicious warm bread arrived shortly after we were seated.

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For our appetizer we chose buttermilk battered fried oysters, served on a bed of roasted corn and sweet relish. The oysters were lightly battered and cooked perfectly. They paired nicely with the corn relish.

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For her entrée, my wife chose the Lasagna di Carne. She uses lasagna as a dish by which to judge Italian restaurants and loved this one. The lasagna noodles are smothered in a hearty meat sauce with fresh ricotta and mozzarella.

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I asked the chef to choose my dish and was pleasantly surprised with this Maccheroni con Fritella, with pancetta, onions, fava beans, tossed with egg and pecorino Romano. The lightly coated fresh Maccheroni pasta was superb. The pancetta and onions give the dish that savory balance. The fava beans were a nice touch since you don’t see them on many menus these days.

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The homemade cannoli were the best I have had and reminded me of my days in New York. The traditional New York Cheesecake with a sponge cake crust was good. It was almost unfair to the cheesecake to taste the cannoli first.

Service was excellent with ample staff, attentive but not intrusive. The noise level was light but grew louder as the restaurant filled, but was never in the hard to hear range. This is a must add to your list. Half way through her lasagna my wife said, “this is not a restaurant that serves Italian food, this is an Italian restaurant.” She was so right.