Cheap Eats 2011: DaMoim

“East meets West” is typically shorthand for a restaurant that blends Asian flavors and ingredients with American-style presentation, often to stylish effect. At this Koreatown anomaly–a slick-looking sports bar filled with Beatles memorabilia–the East/West mash-up turns up such curiosities as kimchee quesadillas and tacos stuffed with galbi (marinated short ribs).

Panchan is nowhere in evidence–the traditional Korean menu has given way to a small-plates format. The dabblings in Tex-Mex might raise eyebrows among traditionalists, but they’re the least interesting aspect of the menu.

There are dishes that wouldn’t be out of place in a bistro, including a Frenchified rendition of galbi, in which a sweetly marinated short rib is accented with glazed carrots and pearl onions; Korean classics such as mandu, made-from-scratch dumplings built on gossamer-light wrappers that crunch when they’re deep-fried; and bar snacks including free-range chicken wings cooked to order and glazed with red-pepper sauce. All surpass expectations.

Also good: Buckwheat noodles with pickled cucumbers, radishes, and hard-boiled egg; spicy chicken stew; short-rib bibim bap, a hot stone bowl full of rice, veggies, grilled meat, and a fried egg.

Open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.