That's my Manna!
1104 Charlotte Pike
Manna has been around for a long time. Manna Korean restaurant and Manna grocery store are on the corner of Charlotte and Industrial Way (11th Ave). The Greyhound Bus Station is now across the street from Manna, and the Greyhound Station used to be Hansen Chyrsler Plymouth Jeep Dealer located downtown. It is a strange location amongst an industrial area. The Manna grocery store is a bit " Down home Asian-esque" in that it is tight, cramped, a little messy, and not picturesque. It is Asian utilitarian. Don't be scared because there are some decent Asian products focused on Korean products at the grocery side. On the restaurant side, it seems a little worn, utilitarian, but clean enough. The chairs are old style convention center chairs, not the most comfortable, but they do their job. Neither side, grocery nor restaurant, is going to win for style or fashion. These places are purely about Korean food.
What me and my friends agree on is that Manna has the best and most generous portion of kalbi (also written in English as galbi). Kalbi is a thinly sliced marinated grilled short rib steak. I find this one to be my favorite flavor of kalbi in all of Nashville. Me and my friends agree that we like the side dishes very well here. Fire eater friend likes the variety of kim chi here, and my friend of Korean origin likes the value, kalbi and kim chi sides. I personally like the kalbi for its flavor as well as portion vs cost ratio. I also like the sides because they seem to have had small Korean style dried anchovies for a side dish every time I have gone to dine. It is hard to find these mini-anchovies at any other Korean restaurant in this town because the others don't normally have them in stock. I think other Korean restaurants in town have a more diverse client base which frowns upon eating dried mini-anchovies, and there must have been a lot of waste of this relatively expensive side dish. So, the other Korean restaurant owners are smart enough to know that throwing away dollars of fish every night is not a good policy for making money, so they just don't serve the stuff anymore. I love that Manna has the little fishies for me to eat with my rice.
The last few times I have been in Manna's, we were the only ones dining, or there were only one or 2 more tables being served. But, overhearing other tables, it is usually someone who has dined at Manna's multiple times and introducing friends to the place. That is how I feel, I want to bring no people to try this place because most people would just pass by this joint because it looks a little funky from the outside, and it is in a funky location. It looks like h*ll on the outside, and so plain on the inside, that it could be off-putting to some. But, enduring what it looks like, you may be pleasantly surprised with your meal.
Labels: Nashville Eats