Seoul Food: The Korean Vodka Soju Replenishes the Spirit


These days of half-cooked Rice cry out for fortifying one’s existence, and staving off, like a sturdy mujahideen, the slings and faux missiles of mass destruction. A tidy refuge, Mandoo Bar offers Seoul food, solitude, and soju (Korean vodka)—here the fortifier of choice. In ascetic but soothing grays, TV sets bookending it, the cozy, low-key bar offers an array of soju cocktails, from the palate-cleansing, cucumber-infused soju kettle ($15, good for four), to fruit-based martinis (lemon to lychee, $8), from the no-prisoners ginger kamikaze concoction ($8) to a modest slew of beers ($5 for OB, a Korean lager; $6 for Corona). A branch of Koreatown’s Mandoo Restaurant, the joint serves various tasty dumplings ($7 to $11)—tapas to complement your by now revivified warrior spirit, ready for one more foray into the frazzled remains of the day.

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