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Gom Ba Woo, Annandale


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"What are you in the mood for?" is what precedes an awful lot of dinners, at least among people I know, so I think the guide's theme is useful and I think the choices show that Tom may be trying to spread the love a little. We all know Palena/Firefly/Corduroy aren't the only places worth dining, and I'm glad he's shining a light on some lesser knowns.

I kind of like that a place called Gom Ba Woo, which I can honestly say I've never heard of, got a mention. Piques my curiosity...

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The following is a transcript of a recent phone call to Gom Ba Woo:

ring ring ring!

<woman answers phone>

"hb jgsgq mwngjo bcv a nnbnbpbgm pp a ghhao hgaa"

<speaking slowly and clearly...>

"Hi, I'd like to make a carryout order, please."

<several seconds of silence>

"j;sljn;lan;ln ;l a;ln ;lnb;a b;a s;dbfgn; abn a;sehb;gha;sdflgkn;alsk Korean restuarnt"

<a last-ditch effort...>

"kimchi jae-yuk bokkum"

"Ah!! Okay! Thank you!"

"Thank you! Bye!"

"Bye!"

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If you feel like trekking to Annandale, try Annangol for BBQ (or Il Mee Buffet if you're really hungry and not so much worried about quality), Choong Hwa Won for Chinese-Korean noodles in black bean sauce, or Gom Ba Woo for good, informal homestyle cooking such as stir-fried kimchi with pork.

Cheers,

Rocks.

When was the last time you went to Gom Ba Woo?

Just curious...

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I had dinner there last July, and lunch sometime a few months after that, maybe October.  Has it changed?  I hope they didn't change the little bear.

My hubby and I used to go there around 2001 (?).

We like that place because they serve a low price / light dishes and menu is combined with Korean and Chinese style.

All of sudden they changed the place for beef soup.

So, I wonder what kind of menu style they are serving now... :lol:

Edited by grover
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Don,

Escoffier, his son and I went to Gom Ba Woo for dinner tonight, it was the first time for us there since they changed from a snack place.

We ordered the following:

Nakjee Somyun - Spicy Octopus with angelhair pasta

Tofu Kimchi - stir-fried Kimchi with tofu

Seafood pancake

Bossam - sliced steamed pork, fresh oyster and kimchi stuffing with cabbage wrap

They have 2 options for rice - plain and multi-grain.

Before the food arrived, the owner put two tables together because we needed more space. I wondered why but realized later how much food I had ordered. It could have been enough for 5 people.

She also gave each of us a small bowl of beef soup.

Wow, it was so wonderful, everything on the table was delicious.

I felt like I was eating at home.

Thank you for reminding me of the place

Edited by grover
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we went last night and agree it is like eating in someones home complete with tv. It made me really wish I spoke korean so I could understand why there were dogs on treadmills. We had the pajun, the kimchi and tofu and the ojing bokkum. The bokkum was sweeter than I've had elsewhere but still very good. If it wasn't so warm last night I would have gotten the goat soup, maybe next time.

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Thank you for coming. I am sorry that the service was not consistent.

However, the owner was really concerned that you enjoyed the food.

The menu I posted earlier was not exactly the same as the food we had so I am correcting it.

-Fried dumplings

-Chicken/Veggie salad with Korean mustard sauce (special order for donrockwell members)

-Baitop shell (conch) /scallion with vinaigrette

-Bossam (fresh oyster, steamed bacon slab and kimchi stuffing with brined cabbage)

-stir-fried Octopus

-Kimchi and Pork stir-fried

-Soldier stew

-Kimchi and Dumpling stew

-Spicy noodle

-Watermelon

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Thanks for putting the dinner together. I thought the food, despite it being a little similar from dish to dish, was very enjoyable. For those of us who are used to the more traditional Korean restaurants, I found this to be a welcome change - especially for the price. And for the kind of restaurant it is, I though the service was fine (although I noticed that when Mr Al Dente went to the bathroom, his napkin was not re-folded...they do need to work on the finer points).

The company was great. Especially me - I know you all enjoyed my being there, and you are all most welcome. For those of you at the "other" table (you know who you are), I look forward to amusing you with my bad jokes and unwitty comebacks at a future get-together.

MK

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The dinner and company were worth the special kind of hell that is driving in Virginia. Heck, they were even wortht the special kind of hell beyond that that is driving in Downtown DC after 3 days of torrential trains and multiple road closings! What usually takes 4-5 minutes (getting from 395 to my wife's office) took over an hour!

The prok belley and oyster was delicious as was the kim chee and mandoo csserole. The chicken salad with mustard was as hot as the horserdish at my mom's passover seders of old. All in all very good food.

Great company!

But I thought that this was supposed to be a spicy meal!

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That gives you a challenge, Dean - the Joe's meal will have to outspice this one!

I'll post the photos a bit later. No guarantees that I can accurately match the photo with the dish, though. The stir-fried kimchi and pork was particularly excellent, but I could live on that mandoo/kimchi/bacon/bean thread soup.

The only dish I found to be sinus-clearingly spicy was, of all things, the chicken salad. My tolerance for mustard isn't as high as my tolerance for chilies.

Many, many thanks to Grover and Escoffier for organizing this delicious dinner!

Now if I could only figure out who ate my spoon...

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I am sorry that the service was not consistent.
Oh puh-leeze. We descended upon that place like a horde of locusts. Given our numbers they did an excellent job.

I've been taking food writing courses from Meghan. Here's what I've learned so far:

The first course, the Chicken/Veggie salad with korean mustard sauce, was quite pungent. (Somebody goaded the latecomers to really soak the chicken/veggies in the mustard sauce, giving no hint to just how sharp the dish was. :unsure: ) It nicely complemented the Bossam, which was also quite piquant. Those of us at the "other" table raved about the peppery Kimchi and Pork stir-fry. The Kimchi and Dumpling stew, quite zesty, was also a hit at our table. My personal favorite: Spicy Noodles. Although I didn't find that dish to be all that hot and somewhat sweet, someone surmissed that I had probably killed all of my taste buds by that point.

And to top it all off: Pepto Bismal. Y'all thought I was kidding. Popped those pink pills right after the watermelon. Call me a wimp but that, my friends, is why I will sleep soundly tonight.

Thanks Grover and Escoffier! Especially for that Chicken/Veggie salad.

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That was a great dinner. Please let the restaurant know we very much enjoyed it. The chicken salad with Korean mustard sauce was a challenge for me, I really enjoyed the coch (and that was a surprise) and the stews and the kimchi and pork. Thank you for organizing and ordering, and thanks to all for the good company in the middle of the week of rain.

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Greetings all!

Katie, my 6 yo daughter thought the rice and the house made dumplings were great! Personally I thought the food was fantastic. The fire level was managable and could have gone up a few nouches for some, but really good. The pan fried potstickers that started the meal were very tender and tasty. the company devine!

Thanks agin for setting this up! I will not only be back, but hope that anothe 20 dollar thursday is put together on the spice trail.......

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We had dinner at Gom Ba Woo tonight. I was in the mood for sollongtang, and I had heard good things about their sollongtang, so off we went. Sollongtang, for the uninitiated, is sort of like the pho of Korea, a soup made from boiling beef bones for hours (or days), served with noodles and sliced beef, and green onions and salt are added at the table to taste. It is reputed to have medicinal properties as well.

The bottom line is that I'll have to go back again. The sollongtang was very good. One minor quibble is that I've never had it with a slice of liver in it. Tough, boiled, liver. I don't think I care for that, but the rest was very good.

Barbara had the duk mandoo guk, beef soup with dumplings and rice cakes. Her only complaint was too much egg in the soup, but once again a minor issue in otherwise a very nice soup.

The kimchee and kakduki (radish) were both good, more heavily peppered than some in town, but tasty. Nice, well balanced flavors. There was a marinated radish with soy sauce and sesame oil, bean sprouts, and hot spicy marinated zucchini.

Next time I go I can promise you I'll be getting the conch dish mentioned above. That looks wonderful.

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One minor quibble is that I've never had it with a slice of liver in it. Tough, boiled, liver. I don't think I care for that, but the rest was very good.
This is most interesting. I've eaten the sollongtang a number of times and have never had liver served in it. We will be there this weekend and will ask the owner about using liver. Incidentally, the duk mandoo guk uses the same broth and beef as the sollongtang (had it on Sunday after driving back from CT).
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This is most interesting. I've eaten the sollongtang a number of times and have never had liver served in it. We will be there this weekend and will ask the owner about using liver. Incidentally, the duk mandoo guk uses the same broth and beef as the sollongtang (had it on Sunday after driving back from CT).

I've never had it with anything other than beef slices or (possibly) tongue slices anywhere I've had it. Maybe this slipped in from another pot.

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I've never had it with anything other than beef slices or (possibly) tongue slices anywhere I've had it. Maybe this slipped in from another pot.
It's actually very unusual. Due to the very strong flavor of liver, most Asians won't even buy it much less cook and eat it. The only thing I can think of is that someone was sent out to buy meat and came back with liver (maybe they saw beef liver and ignored the liver part of the label)...anyway, very unusual.
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Strange indeed... sullongtang traditionally has tongue and tripe. I've never heard of liver before.

The other Korean place right across the parking lot from Gom Bae Woo is also quite good. Good kimchee and good kalbi.

That would be AnanGol and they're known for their pork barbecue. Korean restaurants (like American ones) specialize in certain foods. There also happens to be a very good tofu restaurant one block away. Their soon doo boo is wonderful. And one block off LRT on John Marr Drive is an excellent Korean-Chinese (Chinese food prepared in the Korean manner) restaurant.
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Incidentally, the duk mandoo guk uses the same broth and beef as the sollongtang (had it on Sunday after driving back from CT).

I don't think the broth was the same last night. The sollongtang broth had a richer taste and much more depth of flavor than my duk mandoo guk broth.

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That would be AnanGol and they're known for their pork barbecue.

Yeah, that's right. I couldn't remember the name at all. The yuk gae jang, however, wasn't the best. I've driven by the dooboo place many times, I'll have to stop in next time. Damn, I have a craving now...

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I don't think the broth was the same last night. The sollongtang broth had a richer taste and much more depth of flavor than my duk mandoo guk broth.
I wonder if having a Korean wife means I get different food? I know that we do get dishes we didn't order a lot of times (in addition to...not instead of)...Incidentally, the reason there is a lot of egg is because they use a fresh egg every time rather than mixing up a bunch of eggs and then adding a dollop when called for.
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Thank you for coming. I am sorry that the service was not consistent.

However, the owner was really concerned that you enjoyed the food.

The menu I posted earlier was not exactly the same as the food we had so I am correcting it.

-Fried dumplings

-Chicken/Veggie salad with Korean mustard sauce (special order for donrockwell members)

-Baitop shell (conch) /scallion with vinaigrette

-Bossam (fresh oyster, steamed bacon slab and kimchi stuffing with brined cabbage)

-stir-fried Octopus

-Kimchi and Pork stir-fried

-Soldier stew

-Kimchi and Dumpling stew

-Spicy noodle

-Watermelon

From my quick scroll through this DR outing, the emphasis was "spice," one should really try the assorted steamed beef parts platter, parts including, tripe, plank, tendons, tongue [mo-deum pyun yuk]. The platter with soju last night food was comfort food a la coreanne.

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From my quick scroll through this DR outing, the emphasis was "spice,"
Exactly. If you read far enough back you will find that some people were complaining that they thought Korean food was spicy and the food we had at Han Sung Oak wasn't spicy at all. The dinner at Gom Ba Woo was specially designed to be on the spicy side.
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It's been a while since anyone posted about Gom Ba Woo. I had fried dumplings and short ribs (gal bi) here the other day. The short ribs are cooked in the kitchen, and when the server brought them to the table, she took some scissors and cut the ribs up into bite size pieces. The ribs were lightly marinated. The side dishes were potatoes flavored with soy, spicy cucumbers, kim chi, spicy bean sprouts, and radish kimchi, as well as the lettuce/spicy bean paste/garlic/hot peppers that come with the ribs. I like the food and also the cozy atmosphere and friendly service.

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Jenna and I felt like Korean today, so we decided to switch it up from the usual (Honey Pig) and went to Gom Ba Woo, which I had not been to in a year or 2. It was wonderful. Some highlights... We did not need to ask for boricha (barley tea) they just gave it to us. All the Banchan, (side dishes) were great, the best I've had in a recent memory. The seafood and scallion pancake was marvelous, almost no binder, all scallion and seafood. The service was great and friendly as I remembered, they even gave us, on the house, a set of fried dumplings which were also great. We were stuffed.

It's a nice change of pace from Honey Pig. The service is so friendly and welcoming and its a much quieter vibe. It almost feels like you are a guest in their home. We'll def be back again soon.

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Echoing chaofun's sentiment above about the gracious service...

An early dinner tonight at Gom Ba Woo was, start to finish, welcoming and warming. Complimentary corn and barley tea is served iced during the warmer months here, impressively refreshing and quickly refilled. Panchan selections arrive fresh and inviting, the radish of special crunchy note (kkakdugi).

Some of the best conch in recent memory appears on the menu. Tonight's edition incredulously tender, spritely with perilla/shiso/sesame-but-not-really-sesame leaf. Portion size for this spicy entree is formidable, count on sharing. Nakji bokeum featured another plus with impressively prepared octopus, carrots, bell peppers, onions, and the table's glowing admiration of the heat. Galbi (beef short ribs) were a bit more sweet than I normally prefer, but nothing a righteous dollop of miso paste couldn't cancel.

The check arrived with sticks of Wrigley's gum (not sugary fruit boxes). I wish more places would do that, refreshing and dentally astute. On the way out the door, we felt the staff's deep smiles and genuine appreciation behind us as we broke into the warmly setting sun.

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I ordered the spicy pork, seafood pancake, and the galbi tang with cabbage here. I thought all three dishes were only average. While the pancake had very little binder, it also had very few chunks of octopus, which is my favorite part of seafood pancake since octopus stands up to the griddle so well. The cabbage kimchi was excellent and very spicy, but the radish kimchi was too sour for me. The more problematic aspect of Gom Ba Woo is its location, which is basically in the same parking lot as To Sok Jip, another tiny restaurant that in my opinion serves the best none BBQ Korean home cooking in Annandale along with a most impressive spread of banchan. If I am in that parking lot, I tend to choose To Sok Jip over the other places. The service was very frindly, and we got many refills on the chilled boricha. The space was old and worn, but still very charming. It felt like a tea house with lots of natural wood, foliage, and cooling bamboo blinds.

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After reading the banchan thread, I popped in to Gom Ba Woo today for lunch with a co-worker. We shared a seafood pancake and I had some kind beef and cabbage soup. The ban chan selection wasn't great - radish, kim chi, mung bean sprout, potato, and mushrooms - but I think they have the best kim chi that I can remember (my memory doesn't extend too far these days). The seafood pancake was also wonderful - very light (as opposed to being dense). I can't say that there were alot of seafood in the pancake - nevertheless, I really liked the pancake. I didn't care as much for my soup - not that it's bad or anything, just not very exciting to me.

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