Adam Express, a tiny, one-year-old carryout in Mount Pleasant, is best known for sushi and Chinese stir-fry dishes. But owners and Seoul natives Bae Hyolyuk and his wife, Boo Hyang, are adding more Korean dishes to the menu.
"That's because it's healthy food with lots of vegetables, not like American fast food that makes you fat," says Hyolyuk, who owned a barbecue restaurant back home for 20 years.
The vast majority of Korean restaurants in the Washington area are in the suburbs, so the couple will have little competition. They do not use monosodium glutamate in their marinades and sauces. "Yes, food with MSG is very tasty. But so many people are allergic to it," he says.
On the short Korean menu are two classics worth trying. The bi bim bap ($7) is a sizable portion of steamed rice and assorted sauteed yet still crunchy vegetables topped with a fried egg and served with an assertive red chili sauce. Chap chae ($8), a favorite of Koreans at parties and family gatherings, is sweet-potato vermicelli noodles sauteed with shredded beef and sliced vegetables, flavored with sesame oil and soy sauce.
For anyone who would like to enjoy these good dishes straight from the wok, Adam Express has a cozy, four-stool counter.
Adam Express, 3211 Mount Pleasant St. NW; 202-328-0010; 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday; closed Sunday.
-- Walter Nicholls