50 Best Restaurants 2018: Mokomandy is No. 6

A Cajun and Korean restaurant in Sterling

Photo by Jonathan Timmes

At Mokomandy, using chopsticks to pick up white beans inside of a panko-topped Cajun cassoulet doesn’t feel all that odd. That’s because before tasting a slice of the bayou, there’s the Korean inflected bison tucked into dumplings bobbing in a spicy, beefy sauce, and a duck fat-fried chicken leg, a mix of sweet, spicy and salty, and sauced with a housemade gochujang and a riff on Kewpie mayo. This reflects the multilateral mission of serving Cajun, Korean and modern American food from one kitchen.

Dishes shift from season to season, and will continue to do so after chef Daniel Wilcox Stevens, there since Mokomandy’s beginning in 2010, left late this summer and longtime sous chef Jonathan Stanziano took over as executive chef. Korean-born and raised in Ashburn, Stanziano is already playing with Brussels sprouts kimchi with vegan coconut-bacon and haemul sundubu jjigae, seafood stew, keeping the menu flush with chef-driven takes on classic Korean food.

mokomandy dessert
Photo by Jonathan Timmes

This strip mall restaurant makes the real estate mantra of “location” the exception, not the rule. This is where to find stunning food: a jambalaya that’s spicy and meaty, and an Arctic char, supple and silky, next to chewy purple rice and smoked edamame butter. The bean, pulverized to showcase the singularly umami taste from soy, is mysterious but works so well together, just like pairing Cajun and Korean food under one roof.

Cajun + Korean | $$
20789 Great Falls Plaza, Suite 176, Sterling

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