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Eats and Drinks

Best Restaurant

Nam Kang

2126 Maryland Ave., 685-6257

Posted 9/18/1996

Straight up—we were bribed. About six months ago, little extras, unasked-for selections, began showing up on the table when we made our regular Tuesday appearances at Nam Kang: a seafood-and-scallion pancake here, a plateful of dumplings there. By no means have such freebies been in the offing every time we go, but journalistic ethics demand that we come clean about anything, no matter how minor, that may have figured into a designation as weighty as that of “Best Restaurant.”

Still, Nam Kang pretty much had the award in the bag before any grafting began. After all, they couldn’t have plied us with goodies if we hadn’t already been there. And we were already there because, in our considerable experience, there’s no better tonic than Nam Kang’s Korean/Japanese fare for soothing our weary hunger after we’ve shipped another week’s alternative news off to the printer.

Call us creatures of habit. If it’s a raw, rainy Tuesday, we go for a huge bowl of jampong, the fiery noodle-and-seafood soup, or for a bubbling hot pot of kim chi jigue, the sublime pork-and-pickled-cabbage stew. If it’s a sunny Tuesday, we may opt for the sushi lunch special (the sushi pieces large and flavorful, in the Korean idiom), or for the sweet beef strips of the bulgogi lunch box. And on any Tuesday at all, we revel in the ever-changing assortment of complimentary appetizers (not payola, but a standard part of the meal): tiny, preserved fish; bracing kim chi; seaweed salad; a compelling sort of pickled black beans.

But lunch is only the beginning. Nam Kang also serves up dinners of mammoth proportions, with dishes ranging from homey comfort food (tuk man doo kuk—rice cakes and peppery dumplings in broth) to special-occasion-worthy treats (the broiled eel comes to mind). Best of all, in a town where it’s hard to get anything but diner food after 10 p.m. weeknights, Nam Kang keeps serving into the wee hours (till 4 a.m.). Our lives wouldn’t be the same without it.

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Other Awards for Best Restaurant:

Peter's Inn, 9/17/2003

Martick's Restaurant Français, 9/18/2002

The Helmand, 9/19/2001

Karabelas Cuisine, 9/13/2000

Pierpoint, 9/15/1999

The Helmand, 9/17/1997

All Awards for Nam Kang:

Best Korean Restaurant, 9/17/2008

Best Really Late-Night Dining, 9/20/2006

Best Late-Night Dining, 9/21/2005

Best Korean Restaurant, 9/17/2003

Best Late-Night Dining, 9/17/2003

Best Korean Restaurant, 9/18/2002

Best Korean Restaurant, 9/15/1999

Best Korean Restaurant, 9/17/1997

Best Korean Restaurant, 9/18/1996

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