Express Manna Kitchen

Rating:

What do I do for lunch now that Restaurant Week is over?  I guess I’ll return to those cheap little shops littered around my office.  Well, I finally mustered up the courage to check out this little Korean place that I’ve had an eye on.  After all, I am a huge fan of some good bibimbap in a hot stone bowl.  Unfortunately, I guess the stone bowl eliminates the possibility of getting it as take-out, but I’ll live.

Upon entering, I found that the place was surprisingly packed, but that might just be how all places restaurants around Union Square are during lunch hour.  I must say, firstly, I was not impressed by the price of their bibimbap that came in a stone bowl, netting me $11.92 including tax.  Maybe it was really good though?  Or maybe they just had no competition within a ten block radius, basically until you reach Korea Town.

I believe bibimbap is, in general, pretty simple to cook.  I think much more important is the freshness and quality of the assorted vegetables they include.  I was not as impressed as I would’ve liked for the money I paid, none of the mushrooms, roots, and stems were nearly as delicious as I wanted.  And though it came with the standard side dishes of kimchi, etc., it also came with mashed potatoes rather than what it really needed, a good side of Korean hot sauce.  As well, just to complain further, I think they could’ve used a more appropriately sized bowl.  The quantity of the food was sufficient, but displayed in the bowl that they used, it looked like a meager little portion that would hardly satisfy even a small child.

With such high prices combined with such average ingredients, they should at least make the dish as presentable as possible.  I probably won’t be back just because I can’t afford something of this quality at such a price.  There are both cheaper and better options in the vicinity.  I’ll stick with my Chinese restaurant around the corner.

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