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Found 90 results

  1. Cathal Armstrong's new restaurant Kaliwa is opening possibly tomorrow at the Wharf (751 Wharf St, SW, DC) (via Laura Hayes' tweet). More info about the restaurant at Washington City Paper: "Kaliwa Brings Food with Full Funk and Fire to the Wharf when it Opens Next Week" by Laura Hayes on washingtoncitypaper.com
  2. Cafe Kimchi has closed. The space is now open under (I believe) different ownership with a new name and prettier look. The new restaurant is Torai, which serves Korean and Japanese food. Yelp link (obligatory "Sorry, Don.") Someone I know who lives nearby told me about the change and said that the food is quite good and a step up from Cafe Kimchi. I have not been in to eat here yet and, for that matter, only got food at Cafe Kimchi once. I forget what it was but it wasn't something that traveled too well. Given the small space, takeout probably remains the best option here, though there is some seating. The space is at 751 8th Street, SE, next to District Doughnuts.
  3. Not wanting to cook on Friday night we gave this place a try for carry out. We got the A2 - Pan fried dumplings (Beef), A7 - Seafood Pancake, C8 Bulgagi and e8 Bibimap. Pretty much everyone enjoyed everything which is a feat when you have four kids. My 3 year old daughter loved the dumplings and declared them one of her favorite restaurants (Entering the pantheon of ABC Canteen). My favorite was the seafood pancake but really everything was strong. Since they are conveniently located halfway between my office and my house I can see them entering the carry out rotation.
  4. I went here last night. Definitely hipster/upscale Korean. They specialize in customizable bowls of bibimbap. Also serve Ssam but my spicy pork belly was dried out and not fun to eat whike the dolsot (hot stone bowl) bibimbap was delicious. We also had korean fried wings, scallion pancakes (pajeon) and mandu. They also serve great soju cocktails and house infused soju. They also have this amazing desert with house fried potato chips, honey butterscotch sauce and ice cream. Located in silver spring on sligo ave
  5. I have been meaning to try Gazebo Cafe in Kentlands for a while because it has pretty good local press. They don't have a website, but they have some sort of Facebook Page [unofficial].. Located a short walk from my house in the Kentlands, this is a little space with a bar and a few tables inside and outside (probably can't seat much more than 15 people, if that). Whenever we have tried to go, we couldn't get a table because it is so popular. Today we tried and hit it at the right time and nabbed a table. Gazebo is pretty much a coffee car with a breakfast/lunch/brunch menu. It is Korean owned and as a result they have a Korean menu also. All dishes looked very fresh and like they were prepared with care and love. Today I opted for the 2 eggs, with Korean beef with scallions and waffle brunch item with organic ginger/honey tea. I ordered the eggs over medium. They were served on a plate with the beef. I broke the yoke and mixed everything together. The flavors were very good. The waffle was also good, from a Belgian press. The tea came with a bunch of fresh ginger in the bottom. The tea was perfect for me as I have a cold, and the honey coated the throat. My wife and daughter each got half a waffle with ice cream (which holds a spot in my wife's heart from her days dining in Long Island diners). My 5 year old daughter had no idea what she was in for and sat wide eyed in disbelief at what she had ordered. Needless to say she finished every bit on her plate and asked for a spoon to try and get what remained of her cookies and cream ice cream. The waffle had a generous scoop of ice cream, with whipped cream, some drizzled chocolate syrup and couple of sliced strawberries. My wife was equally pleased. The service was very warm, kind of like you were dining at someone's home. We will definitely be back. Oh yes, it wasn't a typo, but they do also have dry cleaning, although I am pretty sure it isn't done on-site. I need to go back and have a pure Korean dish. I am sure it will be good.
  6. "Bulgogi Cultists, Rejoice: Jonathan Gold Finds First-Rate Korean Barbecue at Gwang Yang" by Jonathan Gold on latimes.com
  7. "At Hanjip in Culver City, Jonathan Gold Says, 'Get The Stuff You Don't Normally See At Other Korean Barbecue Joints'" by Jonathan Gold on latimes.com
  8. Siroo or Juk Story - whatever it goes by now - has the best shaved ice I've had in the US. I recently tried many of the top kakigori shops in Tokyo and Siroo's bingsu compares favorably. Granted, bingsu is a little different than kakigori. Highly recommended in any case. Next time, I may try the rice porridge.
  9. Now you've done it, you've started a mee-guk stampede to Nakwon.
  10. What is currently the "best" Korean BBQ? I have heard that Honey Pig is not what it once was? Thoughts?
  11. I've been back to the Oxnard location a bunch of times, and also to the location in Cerritos. The menu has changed slightly in Oxnard, adding several options (octopus, Korean fried chicken, addition of Cajun sauce options etc.). It's quite a steal, value wise, since the price has remained the same ($20 for dinner and $15 for lunch), the meat quality is decent, and the menu has grown a bit. The Cerritos location was a little eye-opening. There's a much larger Asian population down there so we tried a bunch of things we don't get up here - Hawaiian flap steak, miso-marinated hanging tender, soon du boo, more premium cuts in general. All were good to very good (and I felt that the meat was slightly higher quality than at Oxnard), and great for an AYCE concept. Both locations have quick and able service and long lines during peak times. I tried a macaron ice cream sandwich at the Oxnard location (didn't see whether they had them in Cerritos) and it was surprisingly good for coming out of a freezer case (displayed in the restaurant - I hadn't tried them before due to turnover concerns) - I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't stale and not crazily sweet. The dessert and drinks are the only things not included in the base price. We took our large, picky, mixed-age family group there (Cerritos) over the holidays and it was a terrific choice.
  12. Is this the Seoul that took over the old Gamasot space? I tried it recently...and it's quite good.
  13. I stopped in for lunch at Danji Asian Bistro today, and my bill was under $10 (after tax but before tip) for what was a relatively massive portion of food. Danji is in the gigantic Old Centreville Crossing Shopping center (the one with Spa World, H Mart, Honey Pig, etc.), and it's front-and-center so you can't really miss it. There were only a few people dining for lunch, and one employee was easily handling all front of the house operations. I felt like ordering something unusual, so I got the Kalchi Jorim ($8.99, $9.99 at dinner), which was translated as "Belt Fish and Vegetables." The order came with five panchan in addition to a wonderful bowl of flavorful broth with tofu, and a fairly generous portion of Belt Fish with some vegetables and a small amount of (moderately spicy) sauce in a hot metal bowl, alongside a plain bowl of steamed rice. Belt Fish comes across to me as a cheap, bulk fish, and I'd be very surprised to find it was on any type of endangered-species list - this was most likely frozen as well, as it had a fairly firm texture. If you're in a hurry to eat, this is one dish you want to stay away from, as it is quite bony, both with the main spinal cord, but also with smaller, needle-like bones throughout - it would be tough (and probably not worth it) for a restaurant to filet this fish, as there wouldn't be much meat left after you did. Still, taken as a whole, my lunch was a bargain, and I left full and happy, only ten-dollars poorer, and probably consumed less than 1,000 calories including my bowl of steamed rice. Although I wouldn't go out of my way to return to Danji (there are several interesting restaurants in this shopping center), I wouldn't avoid it either - it's worth a try, and is certainly an average to above-average Korean restaurant. Psst ... they have Korean Fried Chicken on their menu.
  14. Newish, but I am not sure just how new - Bul, a Korean place in Adams Morgan apparently owned by the same folks as Sakuramen - and, according to its website (here) it is intended to evoke street food (calling itself DC's first pojangmacha) Based on a first experience tonight, it was really nice - small, exposed brick pleasant place with very friendly staff. Good kimchi, made by chef's mom. Beer and sochu. Try the steamer egg stew and the odeng soup. Reasonably priced. Totally worth a try.
  15. This is in the former location of Annadale Seafood, located at 7123 Columbia Pike in Annandale, which is where I have one of my favorite Korean food experiences ever. Tonight, wanted to re-live that memory and headed back. It is now called Janguh Si Kwanguh Dong. It doesn't look like anything on the interior was changed, perhaps it is a bit cleaner, but still much the same. They have upgraded the menu and there are better descriptions and more English. I wait staff spoke better English also, and were able to better describe the differences in the sashimi platters. Basically, there are about 4 varieties, all available in a large, medium, or small. The varieties loosely are: fish only, fish only but including a flounder that was live in the tank, fish and seafood (all the fish, but including abalone, sea cucumber, and sea squirt), and fish including the live flounder and the seafood. We were debating the seafood vs. the fish only. While I would have liked to try the seafood, the rest of my party is not as adventurous. We opted for the fish only. The waitress suggested that we not get the live flounder, but we didn't listen and opted for the live flounder. The initial dishes included a pumpkin porage which was very tasty, a tempura style california roll, salad, spicy tuna roll, edamame, squid tempura, some other type of sushi style roll, corn with cheese (my wife and mom's favorite), sauteed mushrooms, some sort of smoky rice, scrambled eggs (my daughter went crazy on this and ate the whole portion), a whole fried tilapia (I may have left out one or two). Next came the sashimi, which included salmon, tuna, white tuna, yellowtail, and a bunch of flounder (fillet, and a belly cut-more to follow on this later). All of the fish was very tasty. They gave us a little separated dish with sesame oul with salt and nori, and told us to each this with the white tuna. It made it very tasty. The flounder was very tough in the Korean style, with the belly being even more tough. My dad did not like the flounder because he thought it was too tough (the waitress tried to warn us, I still liked it). Once the sashimi was done, they brought us each a bowl of miso, again my daughter loved this (we also got her an order of shrimp tempura, which was shared and everyone really enjoyed it)(our daughter was a real trooper and really enjoyed the meal). After the miso, there was some nappa kimchi, radish kimche, some soy sprouts, and potato salad. This was followed by a flounder bone stew. This was actually the highlight of the meal for me (the rest of my family was rightfully stuffed). The soup had some flounder bones, nappa, sprouts, onion, tofu, and a spicy broth. The broth was the star! Meal was finished with Korean yogurt shakes. Total meal, $110 for 4, plus $11 for the shrimp tempura. All in all a great meal. Although my memory is a bit hazy from the last time we were here, I think there was more offering in the dishes before the sashimi, but it was still a great meal and I will come back again.
  16. Hangari Noodle Company appears to be ready to bring house-made Korean noodles this weekend to Hanoori Town, the cluster of restaurants a few doors down from the H Mart in Catonsville. As I have been told, the owner/chef has been in the restaurant business for more than 20 years in LA, including a hot restaurant in Koreatown called Hangari Kalgooksoo. The new Hangari Noodle follows the concept of his current LA restaurant -- focusing on two types of noodles (kalgooksoo and mil myun) and serving them in a variety of broths and sauces. This sounds like a cool addition to the Rte 40 corridor -- noodles that are rolled, cut and boiled only after you order. I hear soft opening on Friday, then public opening as early as Saturday.
  17. Bonchon Chicken, a Korean Fried Chicken (KFC) franchise, is coming to Philadelphia. I suspect Philadelphians will immediately fall in love with the eternally crispy skin, and that the novelty will wear thin after enough time goes by. The quality of some of the Bonchon franchises has slipped here in the the Washington, DC area (here's the Washington, DC thread if you want to get some historical background). Nevertheless, it really is unlike anything you've ever tried before - they double-fry it in a super wok (I think), and the chicken stays hot and crispy for over thirty minutes (actually it stays crispy for much longer than that). You can get a double-mix of drummies and wings, and soy-garlic and hot chili sauce - I've always found the wings with soy-garlic to be the best combination - the drumsticks (the actual chicken) have really changed in quality and size (they are now nuclear-sized) over the past couple of years. "Update on BonChon Korean Fried Chicken" by Arthur Etchells on phillymag.com This will have multiple locations in Philadelphia before you know it. "Bonchon" means "my hometown," by the way.
  18. Quick shout-out to Pop Tacos, which is probably my favorite lunch spot in Baltimore. It's basically a family-owned version of Chipotle run by a super nice Korean couple. You can get burritos, quesadillas, burrito bowls, or tacos with your choice of chicken, pork, steak, fish, or Korean-marinated pork. Onions and peppers are sauteed to order and guacamole can be added for no additional cost. I'm not sure if it's the marinade, salsa, or what, but I've always thought that Pop Tacos' food is everything Chipotle should be. You can also get some Korean specialties like bibimbap and great breakfast burritos as well.
  19. Two years ago, I made a pitch for people who would want to try Korean food -- a step-by-step guide for trying barbecue at Shin Chon Garden. That's still one of my favorite meals in Howard County, but I'm back with a second "Korean 101" pitch -- this time aimed at folks who might want to try something warm. Soon doo boo is a basic Korean stew made with tofu. You can get all kinds of variations -- from mild to spicy, from mushrooms to beef to seafood. Your key first step is going to Lighthouse Tofu BBQ on Rte 40 to try it out. Lighthouse is an outpost of an Annandale restaurant that serves up a delicious food and offers newsbies the benefit of a limited menu. As I wrote a few years ago, it's a simpler place than Shin Chon Garden. But it is casual and friendly, and the food made Washingtonian's 2013 "Cheap Eats" list. My big pitch for trying Korean food is that Howard County offers so many options that you can get more variety than almost any other cuisine. But the virtue of Lighthouse as a starting point is that you'll be guaranteed warmth and flavor with just a few decisions. Soon doo boo has a base of pepper-tinged broth filled with vegetables, firm slices of tofu, and your choice of mushrooms or meat. The tofu alone makes the dish filling with a terrific texture. They're firm enough to hold their shape, but soft enough to cut with a spoon. Respect the spiciness. They'll make soon doo boo from mild to super-spicy, and the top level is seriously fiery. The meat provides a nice contrast. Neither the beef or pork are as crispy as the grill-in-yourself meals at a barbecue speciality restaurant. But they come marinated and cooked with onions. Both bulgogi and pork belly have provided a meaty, toothsome match to the spoonfuls of stew. Alternate with bites of kimchi and other panchan, and you can enjoy a full Korean meal in an easy setting. Here's step-by-step to enjoy all the secrets of a friendly restaurant: Step One: Go to Lighthouse. It's on the north side of Rte 40 west of Rte 29. It's next to Jerry's Subs and Boston Market. Turn before Boston Market and consider parking in the side lot. There are few spots right in front of Lighthouse, but not many. Step Two: Order up. I'd recommend that you split between orders of the tofu stew and orders of meat -- sliced beef (bulgogi) or short ribs (kalbi) or pork belly. On our last visit, we did a mushroom soon doo boo and an order of the spicy pork belly. Bonus move: Ask for hot tea if you're interested. Often I have seen waitresses serve hot barley tea to customers who look Korean and ice water to those who don't. The barley tea is warm and mild, and it's free. Step Three: Little free dishes. Most Korean dinners come with panchan. You'll get a few small dishes with a few bites in each. Some kimchi. Some pickled cucumbers. Maybe a seaweed. Maybe a little piece of fish. They're sized to eat with chopsticks, but they'll gladly give you forks. You can snack before your entrees arrive. Step Four: Here comes the food. You'll get your two entrees -- the meat on a metal platter, the soon doo boo in a metal bowl. You'll get rice, which the waitress will scoop out of a stone bowl and into individual metal bowls for each diner. More on that later. You'll also get an egg, which you can crack into the stew where it will cook -- stir it up to get "egg drop"-style strands or just spoon hot stew on the egg to submerge it and get a a poached egg. If you have kids who like to try new foods, then Lighthouse can be perfect. It's cheaper than Shin Chon. Dishes hover around $10-15, and there are familiar parts to hot soup and sliced meat. The restaurant itself is casual and modern with a cool wallpaper of Korean text. Very kid-friendly. Step Five: Eat up. We generally share the dishes. We just passed the stew bowl, but you could ask for smaller dishes and spoon out stew. Bulgogi is a safe bet for a first meal. It's thin-sliced beef, marinated and broiled. On our last visit, we had the spicy pork belly to try something new. Ask for more panchan if you eat up the ones that you like. The waitresses are generally attentive and will refill panchan if you ask. Bonus: Korean diners don't expect waitresses to check in as often. In other restaurants, they leave you alone until you push a button on the table. Lighthouse doesn't have those buttons, so feel free to make eye contact and call over a waitress. Step Six: "Burnt rice" tea to settle your stomach. Once the waitress scoops out the rice, she will pour water into the stone rice bowl. That will brew while you eat. When you're done, pour a little of the burnt rice tea into the small plastic bowls next to the rice. It's a palate cleanser. It tastes like crispy rice. Red bean donut at Shilla Bakery Step Seven: Dessert across the street. When you walk outside Lighthouse, look across Rte 40 for Shilla Bakery. That's too close to miss. You can U-turn on Rte 40 and be enjoying coffee, sweet potato lattes, and all kinds of desserts. My starter suggestion: The red bean donut. But they have all kinds of cakes, cookies and pastries. Seriously, I recommend Shilla as much as I recommend Lighthouse. Lighthouse can serve you a quick dinner, but coffee and a sweet at Shilla can extend your date -- great for chatting in the coffee shop atmosphere.
  20. Coffee nature is a lot of fun. Good food and drinks, and some of the best service I've had anywhere. One time they messed up a drink that a friend of mine ordered and paid for in cash, and as they came out with the replacement, they insisted on giving her the cash back as well. Very cool.
  21. I could not find a post for this place that I've been to a few times, but I went back last night and it needed to be written up. With the weather unseasonably warm and nearing the upper 60s, the GOP operative, my staff physicist and I went for a run in Alexandria. We started off in North Ridge neighborhood, up the hill, around the Masonic temple and back down through Del Ray. We worked up quite an appetite, and I told them we were going to feast like kings tonight. I love the mid-Atlantic, because there are days in December that you can wear shorts and flip flops. Yesterday night was one of those days. We drove to Bang Ga Nae, which is at the proximal end of Annandale. It is at the former location of the only North Korean restaurant in the area, in a cute little house. There is ample parking available. When we walked in, there was just one table filled with 3 older Korean men. The waitress/chef sat us at the table behind them and got us waters. I was in the mood for some Soju, so we ordered a bottle of Chamisul and a round of domestic beers. We ordered pan fried dumplings as our appetizer. It is served with a soy based sauce with pickled jalapenos, and I really liked the sauce. Simple, but with a kick. The banchan came with intensity and volume. I don't have a great reference point for it, but I liked how it tasted. I liked that as the kimchi was finished, the waitress would come and re-stock us. That was a nice touch. I'm not sure if it costed anything. For our meal, we ordered the Jun Gol for 3 - "spicy black goat with vegetables". They bring a table side burner and then a large skillet filled with goat meat, vegetables, the broth on the bottom, chili paste, garlic, and other things that I didn't recognize. The cook comes periodically and stirs up the stew. It smelled amazing. I mean, seriously, heavenly. And it's right there at your table. She gave us a mixture of garlic, chili paste, and other condiments - we were to add vinegar and hot mustard to taste. This sauce was to dip the goat meat from the stew into. When the stew was done, she filled our bowls with it and we went to work. The goat meat was not strongly gamey, but it had a deep taste. There were meatier pieces and fatty pieces. They don't skimp on the meat. The broth is intense, somewhat "bitter" (not the word I want to use, but I can't think of an alternative right now). It is spicy, but I get the sense that Korean spicy is not like Lao/Thai spicy or even Indian spicy. It's a slow burn that keeps me sweating throughout the meal, but never gets too intense where I have to stop. I really like that. She kept coming by to fill our bowls and I felt like I was at a family member's house, when they aren't satisfied until you are completely and utterly full. The sauce that we prepared before the stew was done adds a nice complexity to the meat. I suggest using that sauce with the dumplings and even just putting it into the broth. Finally, the last part of the meal is the fried rice that she prepares on another table side burner. I didn't watch the preparation of it, but I love it. It's not sweet or salty. It's, again, a little bit bitter, but with each bite I liked it better and better. I throw on some of that sauce on there, too, and it livened it up more. This place is phenomenal. I've never had a meal like this and I will go back over and over. It's definitely one of my favorite restaurants. Great service, better food, though not the best ambience/lighting. Never a big issue with me. The pictures attached are - 1) before cooking 2) while cooking.
  22. Kochix is a tiny little, mainly takeaway (there are two bar stools and a counter) Korean fried chicken joint in that opened up about a month ago in the space that used to be Arthur Treacher's. As far as I know this is the only Korean fried chicken in DC proper (Is that right?). On our first visit tonight we got a medium combo order (7 wings and 4 drums), half spicy and half sweet soy, and a bulgogi. In texture, the chicken is closer to American style wings than what I've come to know as KFC through Bon Chon (comparisons to Bon Chon are going to be inevitable with this place, and that's not going to work in their favor) -- the skin gives way with a slight crunch, but nothing like the crispy "shell" Bon Chon provides. The glazes feel like they were applied outside rather than integrated into the batter, if that makes any sense. Both flavors are sweeter than the Bon Chon equivalents, and the spicy is not as spicy. These are not bad chicken wings on their own merits, but again, it's just very hard not to make the BC comparison. Bulgogi was downtown steamtable variety lunch spot quality (is there a name for those places? the sort that have 50 different lunch options, from southern bbq and collard greens, to sushi and bulgogi?)
  23. I'm infatuated with Yet Nal House, and I haven't even scratched the surface yet. This Ellicott City restaurant is a casual Korean place tucked in the first-floor corner of a shopping center at Rte 40 and Pine Orchard. It doesn't have an English sign, and the front door -- down from Bippy's Pub -- opens onto a takeout area. But you walk through into a cozy dining room with a bar and a big selection of Korean dishes. Friend of the blog like Min had turned us on to Yel Nal with suggestions of rice cakes and the brisket casserole. With the weather chilling, I convinced Mrs. HowChow that the season had arrived to try new soups to stay warm. We got huge bowls of spicy beef soup (yuk gae jung) and seafood-tofu stew (soon doo boo), and we gorged ourselves surrounded by a crowd that ranged from families with small children to a table of young adults enjoying soju, beer, and a platter of seafood and noodles to some older couples who lingered over a table of dishes that looked amazing. Our dishes seem like fine introductions if you like some heat. The soon doo boo has a low, warm spiciness. It isn't aggressive. The base soup has a rich seafood flavor. Not fishy, but more brine with clams and shrimp. The smooth tofu pieces work like noodles in chicken soup, and Mrs. HowChow added spoonfuls of white rice that soaked up the flavors and left her with a take-home bowl as full as her original stew. My yuk gae jung was spicier. You get shredded meat in the red-pepper and beef broth, along with scallions and what I thought were fernbrake. It's earthy and delicious. Perfect for a chilly night. We really didn't need the boiled dumplings that we had ordered because Yel Nal puts out the small plates of panchan on every table -- some kimchi, some noodles called chapchae, fish cakes, a seaweed with spicy sauce. . . . We had more than two lunches in plastic containers when we walked out. I can't suggest Yel Nal enough if you have already tried Shin Chon Garden and a few nights of Korean 101. People waiting for a table seemed initially surprised to see non-Korean-speakers come through the door. But they -- and then everyone in the restaurant -- were friendly. The menu has English descriptions, or you could look for suggestions on Yelp and just repeat the Korean names. For a few years, we have nosed around other Korean spots in Ellicott City looking to see what we find. Yet Nal and Lighthouse Tofu are the two that most called me back with a welcome feel and delicious food. Lighthouse specializes in soon doo boo, and both places offer a bit of theater with the dish. You get white rice in a really hot bowl, and you're supposed to scoop out most of the rice, but leave a thin crust. That cooks for 10-15 minutes, then you pour in a few inches of water. By the time you're done eating, you have a palate-cleansing, stomach-settling tea. Next time, I'm going to try the rice cake soup at Yel Nal. I need to see a baseline because I'm hoping to cook this for the Korean New Year in the winter. I also need to figure out the brisket casserole and the LA short ribs. I'm up for any suggestions. I have heard that Yet Nal has a good reputation with Korean diners, so I'd love to know what people enjoy. Years ago, Yel Nal House was a very different business. I stopped there in 2008, when it was basically a takeout shop with kimbop, kimchi, soups and other dishes. Since then, the space has been completely renovated, and the restaurant is warm and casual. But there are still takeout coolers, and I bet you'd do well with the soups, kimchi, or other items.