One of my favorite places to dine, Mandalay Restaurant, had a related eatery in Georgetown. I was in the neighborhood for DC’s Fringe Festival, so I made a point to try it out. Bandoola Bowl lives up to their reputation.
Bandoola Bowl is what is called a “fast casual” restaurant, which combines the convenience of fast food with the higher quality of casual dining. Places like Chipotle, Sweet Green, or Chop’t, are good examples of the type. Fast casual restaurants have a more limited menu, but are also very customizable. Bandoola Bowl follows this model, offering up a variety of salads and rice or noodle bowls.
The salads are very similar to what was served at Mandalay, with almost all of the same varieties. This includes my old favorites the papaya salad and the ginger salad. As I said about Mandalay, the Burmese salad is a canvas upon which the chef paints. I was looking for something substantial, so I decided on the pork salad. Besides being served in a bowl, there are other differences between these salads and those served at Mandalay. The key one is that this salad, in addition to the traditional shredded cabbage, has additional greens as the base. In my salad, I noticed Romaine lettuce, but there may have been others. The rest of the salad was exactly what I was expecting and what I love: a mix of vegetables, topped with shredded peanuts, and dossed in a mildly sweet Burmese dressing. Delicious!
Bandoola Bowl is situated in a tall narrow building, making it much smaller than the Silver Spring restaurant. I suspect this is typical of Georgetown. There is some table space upstairs and a couple of tables outside. It is really geared for take out business, and that is what most customers seemed to be doing. Nevertheless, I found the eating area pleasant, and liked the photos spread throughout that show their Asian heritage. The service is just as friendly as Mandalay.
While the menu is a bit paired down, Bandoola does have the Burmese flavors that I so love, and the speed in which the meals are prepared is very convenient. It’s a great spot for a quick bite to eat.