I went at 4pm on a Sunday, and only a couple of tables were taken. By 5pm every table was occupied, and minutes later a line formed. This place has gotten popular, and it’s too good and too small. Go early, or (I imagine) go very late. They’re open 10:30am to 2:00am. Supposedly you can call ahead for seating, and they’ll also call you when it’s your turn to be seated.
The restaurant is in suburban Annandale. It’s in a place where rents are low, you can get good value and experiment in offering things that wouldn’t work in downtown DC.
The interior is stainless steel industrial. Rent is low, service is friendly although they can get overwhelmed. The staff cook the meat at your table, it’s not for you to do. There are chop sticks, spoons, napkins in the drawers at your table.
There are two all you can eat options, option A is $21 and includes 5 meats. Option B is $28 and adds 3 different intestine choices. I went for option A, as a way of trying the variety of what they offer.
Next time I won’t do the all you can eat, I’ll probably do some combination of the ribeye (bulgogi), galbi (short rib), or spicy pork belly which comes with the all you can eat options. The soups and banchan come with the meal regardless.
With the all you can eat they really will keep bringing whatever you wish, generally they’ll start with the brisket and then the three porks together and finish with the chicken but it’s up to you. Too much food, though, and I didn’t send them back for more than they brought out naturally of each. When they first brought out the brisket I was sure it was intended not just for my table, but for another as well. But no… they kept grilling meat.
The menu of meats was:
The chadol (fatty brisket) was great for dipping, but not overly flavorful on its own.
The regular pork belly was thick cuts of meat, excellent. The miso pork belly was fine. And it’s hard to go wrong with spicy pork belly (in gochujang).
The chicken galbi with rice cake was also in gochujang. Spicy deliciousness, and the rice cakes were the highlight (‘glutinous goodness’ as our waitress described).
Alongside the meat they serve a steamed egg soup dish, bean paste soup, scallion salad, plenty of banchan side dishes, and vegetables. They also serve three sauces: soy garlic, sesame oil, and a mustard sauce. I thought the sesame oil was fantastic. The kimchi was average
They conclude the meal with a small shot of iced coffee or sliced oranges.
This isn’t the most creative or inventive restaurant, but it’s the best Korean barbecue around by a wide margin. The quality of the food is good and the service is friendly, and while not dirt cheap it’s a fantastic value.
Past recommendations I’ve made here – which if you find yourself in the Northern Virginia area you must consider — are Bangkok Golden for their Laotian menu (not for the Thai lunch buffet) and Elephant Jumps Thai. Just go to Elephant Jumps, seriously, and order off their new menu. I don’t think anyone has ever disagreed with my recommendation for the hung lay curry. I had the Gang Buad Pumpkin-(pumpkin in coconut cream) for dessert the other day and it was fantastic.