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Ga Bo Ja - Seafood-Based Korean on Columbia Pike in Annandale


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In case there isn't a topic here for it, I thought I throw a few words to Gaboja in Annandale. This is a little place, maybe ten tables, in the little strip mall on Columbia Pike right next to the more visible/easier to find Cafe Tu Ah. The main reason I want to exhort it is they have lunch specials of amazing values. The one I usually get is their hwedupbap:

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Hwedupbap!!! by Fortran, on Flickr

Now maybe this isn't the greatest hwedupbap in the area, but you get that big bowl, banchan, some miso soup and a yummy souffle-y egg dish (I want to say gye ran jjim, but I might be wrong) all for a whopping $4.99

Yep. Frankly it's the best lunch deal around. They have other specials as well: sushi and udon for $5.99, and a rather fearsome looking spicy blue crab soup (kkotgaetang?) for, I think, $4.99 as well.

Beyond the lunch specials is a whole menu (kinda see part of it above...though that might be an older menu). Much of it is just pure Korean so I don't have much of an idea what they are, though I think many are combination dinners (prices in the hundreds of dollars...I'm very curious to learn what those are).

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ETA: Okay. For the life of me, I can't figure out why the formatting is all wacky above. I try and make that "Now...as well" paragraph all one paragraph, but when I save it just goes nuts. Can an admin give me a hand?

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Here you go!

Edited by DonRocks
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TheMatt is absolutely right -- the Hwe Dup Bap and the fixings (I especially liked the fishcake banchan) is an amazing, and really delicious, deal -- and the other lunch items on other tables when I as there yesterday looked just as good. If this is what you can get there for five bucks, imagine how good the (untranslated) $250 meal must be! (I asked -- there's no English menu.)

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We haven't been to Ga Bo Ja for some time, perhaps it's time for another excursion to Annandale for fish (even though I have to admit I've been spoiled by the seafood in Busan)

I go to Ga Bo Ja every so often, but since I'm solo, I can't quite order one of the many dishes that lurk on the sashimi side of the menu (one is over $200 I think...I've always wondered what you get with that). If you find yourself there, let me know what was good and what wasn't. It'd be nice to surprise the waitresses by ordering differently!

That said, when I'm in there and a group comes, I'm always staggered by the sheer number of dishes that appear. Just amazing.

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I go to Ga Bo Ja every so often, but since I'm solo, I can't quite order one of the many dishes that lurk on the sashimi side of the menu (one is over $200 I think...I've always wondered what you get with that). If you find yourself there, let me know what was good and what wasn't. It'd be nice to surprise the waitresses by ordering differently!

That said, when I'm in there and a group comes, I'm always staggered by the sheer number of dishes that appear. Just amazing.

It's gonna be tough dragging my family there again. Maybe a group trip is in order the $200 dish.

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I went here with the wife and daughter after a morning of Frozen on Ice at the Patriot Center.  I am pretty sure that they expanded and took over the space next door.  There is twice the seating and private rooms in the back.  New bathrooms as well.  A nice upgrade.  Not sure how long ago this renovation took place (haven't been there in a couple of years).  They also replaced the place-mat menu with a legit menus with pages and some pictures, better descriptions (although it still could use some more english explanation for the various sashimi plates.  It listed a separate sea squirt sashimi (I have seen Anthony Bourdain eat it before and would certainly try if dinning with an adventurous crowd).  There were some other exotic entries, although I had limited time with the menu because of the 4 year old!

The food was also good and the service was friendly.  I ordered the lunch sized Hwe Dub Bop, my wife the sushi roll bento box and we got a small shrimp tempura appetizer for our 4 year old.  They first brought us the egg thing in the clay pot and miso soup for everyone.  Our daughter really enjoyed it once it cooled to a non-scorching/boiling temperature.  Next came the banchan, about 6 of the typical fair, but very good.  My Hwe Dub Bop was how I remembered it the other time I dinned here, perhaps better--a good assortment of fish with some nice seasoning (I think I prefer this dish at Yuraku though although I probably should only judge based upon the dinner version).

Wife's box had some tempura a little sald type thing, and a bunch of rolls (not very exotic--there was one california roll without masago, one with, some small pieces of nigiri, and kimbop vegetable roll).  She really enjoyed it.

Our daughter really enjoyed the egg custard, the miso, a number of the banchan, and destroyed the gigantic shrimp tempura (she ate 3 of the 4 which is amazing for such a tiny stomach).  I had the 4th--the batter was nice and crispy and it was pretty good.

All in all, my wife liked it, my daughter liked it, enough so that she will let me suggest it again if we are in the neighborhood.  Hopefully next time with a large group for a sahsimi dinner!

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