Moa in Rockville?
from Kliman chat this week:
Situated in the fascinating industrial sector of Rockville, amid a slew of old warehouses and specialty supply stores, you would never find this intimate Korean restaurant if you weren't looking for it. It's worth seeking out. The cooking is vivid and punchy -- great bibimbap, served several ways, along with a parade of soups, noodle dishes and stir frys. Order a soju to wash it all down; the mango and watermelon are fresh and gently sweet, a good counterpart to the garlicky intensity of the food.
I've been a few times. Had some soups, noodles and a lunch special. I really like their mandu noodle soup with two sauces; one for the mandu and one for the soup. Their mandu is unlike any I've ever seen, easily 3-4 times the size of the usual mandu. It is so large, it is crescent-shaped; and the meat filling is not just the usual pork mixture; it has kimchi and other ingredients in it and loosely packed. They have some interesting sounding Hot Pot Casseroles. There are about 10 handwritten items on a chalkboard (written in Korean) that is for dinner only. Service is very congenial. Well worth checking out, esp. with a few friends.
Went yesterday for lunch. The bibimbap is indeed very good. The mandu are more idiosyncratic than anything else -- filled with kimchi and pork and humongous. Glad I tried them but I wouldn't necessarily order them again given the other offerings. Definitely a good candidate for a chow lunch where we can explore more of the menu.
Unfortunately Moa doesn't satisfy the Annandale-envy that Rockville residents must feel. The place is pleasant enough but the mediocre food and service mean you still must go to Virginia to get a good Korean meal. On a moderately busy Saturday evening, service was friendly (and apologetic) but abysmal. Drinks (from a poorly stocked bar) took 20 minutes to arrive. The seafood pancake was delicious (worth the visit) but took30 minutes. Banchan was OK though stingy. Galbigi arrived in a pre-cooked, small portion. This was a disappointment since the table did have a built-in burner. Seafood bibimbop was the worst I've ever had: a small, overcooked portion of tasteless glop on rice. Moa is a friendly place but the kitchen and wait staff unfortunately lack the competence to produce and properly serve a Korean dinner. Drive the extra miles to any one of dozens of good places around Annandale!
I enjoyed my haemul bibimbap. Mine had a lot of...oil, but it was very tasty. A bit too much squid, maybe. They do a respectable bulgogi, although it's kind of hard to fuck that up as long as I get plenty of lettuce and ssamjang on the side.
Anyway Moa is my favorite Korean restaurant in Rockville. It's better than Arirang, Lighthouse, or Jon Won. It doesn't really compare to anything in Annandale or even Ellicott City but it's good enough to sate my hunger for Korean comfort food without me having to drive 40 miles.
They actually serve what I think is the best jajangmyeon in the area (way better than Jon Won). It's not on the menu so you'll have to ask for it.
I had the Pajeon seafood scallion pancake at Arirang the other day and it was very different from the ones I've enjoyed at Moa and Honey Pig. It was all green with lots and lots of scallion leaves. I liked it, it was crunchy, though the Moa version has more yummy seafood packed in.
Five Chowhounds got together for lunch to test out this critically acclaimed Korean restaurant in Montgomery County to see if it's better than the Annandale places.
This meal was weak from start to finish.
The haemul pajeon didn't have much seafood, and what it did have was tasteless. If I were blindfolded I could not detect the seafood. In addition it seemed warmed over and overcooked. Both the bibimbap and the jigae were lacking any kind of spice. Adding the squeeze bottle of sauce to the bibimbap helped, but it was not going to be enough for the jigae. It was beyond help. The kimchi was rather 'fresh', so not much tangy flavor that should make this a great dish.
The mandu and the galbi were good.
There were six items of banchan: three of them bland. One of those was some torn lettuce splashed with russian dressing. Bean sprouts and julienned daikon were hardly flavored at all.
There's no Korean meal that weak in Annandale.
We like this restaurant. I've read the account by the Chowhounds who ate lunch there recently. Other than the mandu, we've not tried the same dishes. I didn't care for the mandu.
We've only eaten dinner there. This is what we like about the place:
1. Very homey. The mother makes the banchan. Some are different from what I've eaten at other places so I appreciate that. No problem with getting refills.
2. If the daughter is waiting tables, I ask her for recommendations. I tell her to suggest the less popular stuff. One time, I had this beef soup with a large bone in it. Came with some spicy condiment. Very good.
3. Relaxed atmosphere. That may be because they're disorganized but it hasn't been a problem for us. Some Korean restaurants seem frenetic so I like this low key vibe. The waitresses also take time to talk to our two young kids.