50 Best Restaurants 2017: No. 4 Mokomandy

A Cajun and Korean restaurant in Sterling

Photo by Jonathan Timmes

These pancakes fit in the palm of your hand; they are crispy with a puffy center, garnished with kimchi seared into the top. Dip one into the accompanying tamari-vinegar sauce, though it doesn’t need it.

Much of Mokomandy is similarly sunny, inventive and delicious. It’s also become more surprising, as chef Daniel Wilcox Stevens veers from the restaurant’s Cajun and Korean sphere to barbecue veal tacos, with soft, pulled meat and pickled purple cabbage drizzled with a molasses-sherry reduction, and yes, this sounds insane but only in the I-need-this-every-day way.

Gnocchi with diced pumpkin and a gently poached egg covered in strands of grano padano seems more suited for a modern American restaurant with its multistep sauce of bruleed onions, quatre épices (pepper, cloves, nutmeg and ginger) and brown butter, but somehow it slides into this mosaic of a menu.

Even the dishes with obvious Korean and Cajun influences sprout toward the rest of the globe, with octopus and pork skewers over a smoked edamame butter and fried chicken paillard that stays crunchy underneath a creamy, salty kale and chanterelle sauce that is polished Southern food. Wherever Stevens travels, follow him.

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

(50 Best Restaurants 2017November 2017)