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Anju, Chef Angel Barreto's Modern Korean on 18th and S Street, East Dupont Circle


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Anju opened in the old Mandau space, and we went to try it.  Cool space with exposed brick, rough surfaces, and multiple levels.  Food ranged from ok to very good. Our favorites were charred kimchi pancake, korean sweet potato with honey butter, and many "panchan" -- little side dishes with various kimchis, marinated veg, etc.  A salad was so-so.  Seafood noodle stew was solid. Korean rice cakes were tasty, but one of us thought the setup was a bit bland.   Bibim bap with tofu was disappointing; no crunchy bits in the rice and not much flavor other than chili sauce we added ourselves.  The biggest disappointments were beverages and service. We had several disappointing cocktails. Our waiter disappeared for long stretches. He repeatedly got one person's drink order and walked away before others could give theirs. He dripped red sauce on someone's white shirt.  And while he was often good about refilling water, he was nowhere to be found while we ate our spiciest dishes.  The place has its charms, but I'll give it a little while to mature before I go back.

 

 

 

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Here's a small order of Chikin ($14) at Anju. (One piece, with a lot of sauce, had already been removed from the top - that one piece (two bites of it, anyway) was the difference between what was delivered, and what was discarded.) 

AnjuChikin.jpg

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1 hour ago, DonRocks said:

Here's a small order of Chikin ($14) at Anju. (One piece, with a lot of sauce, had already been removed from the top - that one piece (two bites of it, anyway) was the difference between what was delivered, and what was discarded.) 

AnjuChikin.jpg

Harsh!  (FWIW, the only thing I've had there is the branzino, which was much better than I expected.)

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On 3/1/2020 at 8:04 PM, DonRocks said:

Here's a small order of Chikin ($14) at Anju. (One piece, with a lot of sauce, had already been removed from the top - that one piece (two bites of it, anyway) was the difference between what was delivered, and what was discarded.) 

AnjuChikin.jpg

This is the first time in my life I passed on a fried chicken dish without even trying it. It looked as unappetizing as you say it tasted.

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Had a really delicious takeout dinner from Anju last weekend. Tom Sietsema's old Post review's primary complaint was the food came out too fast, but that is great for delivery 🙂  Everything traveled well too. We had:

Goguma - korean sweet potato, sesame honey butter, herb muchim. This was really surprisingly good. The blistered skin had a nice char flavor and was crackly that was a nice contrast with the creamy rich buttered potato. It comes with a bit of foam that actually held up ok for the first part of the meal. Recommend you eat this first though for carryout.

Bul Guksoo - chilled ramen noodles, spicy buldak sauce, ground beef, egg. This was the least favorite dish but still good. It was deceptively very spicy (you don't see any chilies or anything but be ready). The heat kind of washed out the other flavors. The egg is a half-soy creamy egg and probably the only thing that didn't travel well in delivery. I'd probably skip this next time.

Palace Ddukbokgi - chewy rice cakes, mushroom medley, braised lotus root, sweet soy. This was my favorite dish. I'd never had the rice cakes before and really loved them along with the mushroom rich but sweet sauce. The rice cakes are like long cylindrical gnocchi and function the same way but are chewier.

Ssam Board - seared galbi, seasonal greens, roasted garlic ssamjang. This would probably be better at the restaurant but was still good. They packed the meat separate from the accompaniments so they wouldn't get soggy. The meat was well seasoned and tasty and I liked the ssamjang sauce and shards of crisps and roasted garlic to add to the little lettuce bundles. It also comes with a small side of plain rice.

30-Day Kimchi - I'm not a kimchi connoisseur but it tasty like good kimchi but nothing special.

Brussels Sprout Kimchi - I liked this as a bit unusual - a bit less heat as they add in some chunks of apples. Fun for a non-traditional kimchi.

Soy-brined Chayote - very good very thin slivers of chayote and a few slices of jalapeno but this wasn't that spicy - actually a bit sweet.

Sweet Lotus Root - really good and addictive and rather sweet but still good with savory meal, not candy like.

The above was definitely enough for 2 or maybe 3 people for lighter meals.

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