Young and Hungry

Mandalay Lounge Offers Alternative to $70 Burmese Tasting Menu

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Burmese restaurant Mandalay quietly opened the doors of its Shaw location last week. And in addition to the seven-course, reservations-required tasting menu, as of tonight, guests will also be able to sample some of chef Aung Myint's cooking a la carte in the lounge.

The lounge, which was initially going to be located on the second floor, has switched places with the dining room on the ground level. On the lounge menu, Myint will serve some finger foods and Burmese salads including spring rolls, samosas, pork and cucumber salad, long bean salad, nut mix, dried jerk chicken, and more. Nothing is more than $10. There's also a small drink menu with cocktails, wines, and Asian beers like Tiger and Singha.

As for the tasting menu, Myint told Y&H back in August that he planned to offer the seven courses—inspired by places like Thai X-ing—for $40 on weekdays and $50 on weekends. That price has since jumped to $70. Myint says he simply miscalculated his costs. A big part of the reason is that he's not buying his ingredients from wholesalers; he's shopping for ingredients each day at Asian markets and farmers markets and paying retail prices. Myint says he's changing the menus daily with little overlap from day to day and also customizing the food to diners' dietary restrictions and preferences. "By the end of the day we have nothing in the kitchen," he says. "I'm buying exact."

Between the food prices and the costs of the delayed build-out and other expenses, Myint says $70 is what he needs to charge. But depending on how the restaurant does going forward, he's looking at ways to possibly lower the price.

"We're still trying to find ourselves," Myint says.

  • http://www.facebook.com/themandalaybuilding Vincent

    Thanks for the article, Jessica!

    As a minor clarification, the items that will be available on the lounge's a la carte will be subject to change daily as well. Fried foods and salads guaranteed, just the actual specifics of those items will vary daily.

    Though I promise I will do everything I can do personally to make sure the seasoned pepyoke on tortilla chips are featured daily. Man they were awesome.

    Vincent
    events@mandalaydc.com

  • Ralp

    Great food and hospitable staff. But honestly, too pricey in a neighborhood that had furloughs and gentrification.

  • Dave

    "too pricey in a neighborhood that had furloughs and gentrification."

    Say what? You do realize that there are a number of establishments literally within blocks of Mandalay that are charging as much if not more? And you are aware that "gentrification" is the influx of more moneyed residents into a neighborhood, right?

  • Jason

    Rather than ask an extremely high price for an extremely large amount of food, or $10 appetizers, neither of which are more than occasional feasible meal options, why not serve affordable entrees as they do in the Silver Spring location? Silver Spring's stuff is great, there aren't many Burmese restaurants in DC, and there still aren't many good restaurants in this neighborhood. One would think that good, affordable Burmese food in a developing neighborhood would be more successful than huge, expensive meals in a still-underserved area.

  • http://www.facebook.com/themandalaybuilding Vincent

    Hi Jason, Dave, and Ralph!

    We just added curries to the offerings in the Lounge area this week. The appetizers and salads cost 4-6$, curries cost $12 for now. The lounge will always feature at least as many vegan items as meatier options.

    Happy hour specials occur between 5-7pm.

    The simple reason to not do something as highly successful as what already exists in Silver Spring is that it already exists in Silver Spring, and that the head chef Aung Myint, who was crucial to the success of Silver Spring, and before it, College Park, wanted to do something more. More artistic, more customer oriented, and more than what he has already done.

    The cost is still high due to the daily rotational menu, and the desire to cater to every reserved guests dietary needs.

    We can only afford that last effort for reserved seatings, however.

    Have a great evening, I hope to see you at either Mandalay. I visit both regularly as a customer.

    -
    Vincent

    questions@mandalaydc.com

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