Mokomandy, the Korean-Cajun restaurant in Sterling that holds the No. 1 spot on the latest edition of Northern Virginia Magazine’s 50 Best Restaurants list, is permanently closed. Owner Thaddeus Kim tells the local magazine that the strip mall spot in Loudoun County would not be able to make a viable return to business while the service industry cautiously emerges from the novel coronavirus crisis.
Virginia restaurants are limited to outdoor seating at half capacity during the first phase of reopening, which begins Friday for the Commonwealth’s counties that surround D.C. Kim tells the magazine his restaurant has only 51 seats, none of which are outside.
“We can’t operate at the very high level we were at in terms of our food, people and our quality,” he tells the magazine. “Basically, we were not cutting any corners.”
Since 2011, Mokomandy has drawn notice from food media in Virginia and D.C. for a unique style that pays homage to the backgrounds of Kim’s parents. At Mokomandy, a menu organized by portion size included sections that put kimchi next to cracklings or a catfish boudin balls, Cajun cassoulet, and jambalaya next to ssam platters and bison dumplings.
According to its website, Mokomandy was listed on Northern Virginia Magazine’s top 50 list for nine consecutive years and made another four appearances on Washingtonian’s top 100 (most recently in 2018).