Mandalay

Asian
$$$$ ($35 and up)
Please note: Mandalay is no longer a part of the Going Out Guide
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Editorial Review


By Tom Sietsema
Wednesday, October 9, 2013

DELAYED DESIRES: “Open! Open! Open!” the family of Aung Myint has been urging the owner of the yet--to--launch Mandalay restaurant in Shaw since early September. With eight preview dinners, mostly for friends and relatives, behind it, the food business would appear ready for prime time.

Myint says he would like nothing better than to start serving Burmese food at 1501 Ninth St. NW. But although he’s got all the permits and licenses necessary to serve paying guests, he shares the headache of almost every restaurant owner these days: a lack of talent ---- in Myint’s case, experienced servers. And he says he doesn’t feel comfortable rolling out an elaborate fixed--price dinner without expert guides.

The restaurateur says he’s looking to open as soon as possible, possibly by Friday. Otherwise, “it’s going to hurt me” financially.

Unlike the original Mandalay in Silver Spring, the 100--seat offshoot is offering a seven--course spread for a single price, possibly $70, says Myint. Each night will feature a “star” entree with which Myint, a co--chef along with his wife, Mar, plans to offer appetizers, soups and other dishes that complement it.

One item he expects to serve frequently is tea leaf salad, which he calls “my day--off salad” because he eats it even when he’s not cooking. Another dish he plans to showcase is samosa soup: split peas combined with chilies, cabbage, mint and broken pieces of samosa. Non--alcoholic drinks made from fresh fruit and vegetable juices will accompany the feast. For extra, the same beverages can be spiked.

Good news for vegetarians and diners with allergies: The spread can be tweaked to suit their needs. Myint expects to offer two seating times, one from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., the second from 8 p.m. until closing, around 10:30.

For neighbors, the restaurateur hopes to serve something even more novel: a smaller, less expensive menu to encourage frequent visits. Myint says he’s trying to come up with an easy way to verify who is actually local.