Magpie and The Tiger

Image: Lobster Ginger-Scallion Guksu

Last Updated: April 2022

Current Status: Open for Dine-in only.

Overview:

In the cozy spot on Upshur, familiar to many in D.C.’s food-focused community, Caleb Jang is doing a very serious take on Korean cuisine as through the eyes of a Korean-American.  The food is serious, but the atmosphere is fun and relaxed.  Without outdoor seating (as of yet), it fits only 22 diners.  The menu is similarly limited to just a dozen or so dishes.  However, there is nothing constrained about the cooking, nor the attention shown.  There are two larger dishes that headline: a crispy battered chicken (kkanpunggi) and a Flintstone-sized beef rib (kalbi).  Every dish is distinct. You watch them arrive at other tables and try to figure out which one it is and whether you should have ordered differently.  Relax, it is all good and you can always come back to taste more.

As a new restaurant, they are limited in certain areas, primarily drinks.  There are less than ten wines by the bottle or glass, there may be a single beer choice, and some no-alcohol options – that were tasty – but nothing harder.  With so few tables they can get backed up on reservations, but nothing to get worked up over.  Needless to say, if you are the kind of person who won’t cut a small new restaurant some slack in these times or are otherwise a jerk, this is not the spot for you.  But if you are curious soul who enjoys seeing a team stretch their wings, then enjoy the experience.

There is a spirit to this location that calls forth those who are willing to attempt something special.  Some have been short-lived, some under-rated.  With Magpie and The Tiger, Yang has partnered with Kevin Tien (who was chef at the most celebrated of restaurants to hold this spot) to join the succession of creativity.  It is a worthy occupant.

Gift Cards

Summary:

Cuisine: Korean
Neighborhood: Columbia Heights/Petworth
Address: 828 Upshur St NW, Washington, DC 20011
Website: https://www.magpieandthetiger.com/
Reservations: Tock

Other Critics/Voices:

Washington Post: Tom fell hard.

Washingtonian: Preview

DonRockwell.com – no thread yet

DCist – Nevin Martell with the preview and the backstory.