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Woomi Garden, Wheaton - Korean on Hickerson Drive off Georgia Avenue - Closed

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DanielK said:

Sam Woo on the Pike in Rockville is decent. It's not Annandale, but if you're in the neigborhood, it's a nice place.

I like San Woo but I think WooMi is much better. We love the KimChee Jigae and other soups like Man Doo Guk. I also love the seasoned tofu appetizer. They make a casserole Mandoo which, if there are 4 or 6 of you would be a great starter.

Their $9 all you can eat lunch is a guilty pleasure. I think the Sushi is only so-so.

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Another rec for Wheaton's Woomi... my friends almost always order the sushi and Japanese entrees, so I've been trying to sample the rest of the menu on my own. My favorites so far are the spicy squid and the kimchee/pork/rice cake soup. (hey, this would be a nice place for a cheap Rockwellian outing...)

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I went to one of my favorite restaurnats yesterday. They ahve a lunch buffet and I take advantage of it several times a month. I ordered a medium hot sake and had the buffet. After putting away maybe one quarter of my plate, I took a sip off the sake.... woah! Something's not right here!

I looked at the sake and its quite brown and definitely has an off flavor/odor. I got the attention of the waitress and she turned it over to the sushi chef. Without looking at my cup, he told me it is normal. I told him its most certainly not and offered to let him look at it. But from behind the sushi bar he told me that not only was it normal but that allt hey did was put the bag on the maching and then pour it so it couldn't be bad. I tried to explain that I had 30 years food and wine experience and have been drinking sake for 32 years... probably longer than he has. It was to no avail.

I was being harangued so that I got up to go to the manager, explain what had happened, pay my bill and be on my way. Having someone chew me out for having the audacity to say the sake was bad just made me lose my appetite. The manager took no time to try and find out what happeded, just saying that next time he would give me sake from another machine. He then charged me for the buffet ( I guess eating 1/4 of a plate made me liable for the full amount) AND for the full amount of the sake! I drank less than one cupful and declared it unfit to drink and NO ONE from the restaurant even bothered to look at or smell the crap!

I guess they don't need a customer that comes in at least 2 times a month or more! I will follow this up with a letter just to se what they do, but in any case this is not the first time I have been treated disprespectfully in that restuaurant so I doubt I will be back.

There! I feel better now!

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I wrote a detailed letter recapping what happened and hand delivered it to Woo Mi. As promised, I would reveal the name of the restaurant after they had a chance to reply. I asked Don to move this original report of my lunch to a separate post.

I recieved a letter from the owners of WooMi (any typeo's are soley mine):

"To Mr Dean Gold,

We apologize for any inconvenience there may have been at your last dining experience with us. There seems to have been a miscommunication that day between you and the employees.

Enclosed in a refund check for $17.75 that you were charged for that day.

We hope you chose to dine with us again in the future.

Thank you."

While getting my money back for a meal I paid for end basically did not eat is nice, the letter was pretty weak. There is no acknowlegement that they did not handle the situation well. It was just a misunderstanding. No They served me adulterated or spoiled product!

Will I be back? Yes. As often as in the past, maybe or maybe not. A lot depends on their reaction to my first return visit.

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I'm a huge fan of the Woomi Garden lunch buffet--I'm surprised we haven't crossed paths in there, as I go at least once every couple of weeks. I fluctuate between Woomi and Ruan Thai when I have business in Wheaton. While never being treated disrespectfully, I have noticed a certain "detachment" about the service.

Hope things go well on your next visit, with at least an acknowledgment of their regret for the way you were treated. I'd hate to see you miss out on such a suptuous spread in the future....

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Since Don wants us to pipe up on our latest meal, here's a shout-out to Woomi Garden. I had the spicy stir-fried squid (a reliable favorite, with tender squid and lots of onions), my husband had his usual negimaki although he swears that someday he'll actually order a Korean dish at this Korean restaurant.

When it comes to panchan, for some reason I always ignore their cabbage kimchi. Instead, I dive right into the cucumber kimchi and polish the whole dish off before our drinks even arrive. Damn, I love cucumber kimchi.

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Another rec for Wheaton's Woomi.

Me three.

I went with my sister and her BF the other night. Their kalbi had the right balance between meat and fat, and was not excessively sweet either. My only complaint was that the lettuce (similar to my limited experience in other Korean restaurants) arrived at our table dripping wet.

Due to a birthday in the family, we also had buckwheat noodles in a cold beef broth. Not sure if I liked it, and I generally LOVE noodle soups. One of my friends assures me that the cold soup is an acquired taste, so maybe I will try it again.

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I know it’s an old story, but our happy and busy waitress must not have believed our assurance that we liked spicy food spicy. After serving a round of syrupy, popsicle-red mai tai’s, it’s no wonder she didn’t know what to think of us, and decided to err on the side of caution.

When it showed up at a table brimming with panchan dishes, several condiments, a miso soup and a beef broth, the hamheung hwae naeng myon appeared blazing red in its bath of pepper sauce. Even the half of a boiled egg on top was deeply stained with chili. The mound of naeng myon glowed fierier still after our server vigorously stirred the contents of the big steel bowl with knitting needle chopsticks, mixing in a few dashes of vinegar, and snipped with scissors the long threads of the vermicelli-thin buckwheat and potato flour noodles into more manageable pieces.

Surprisingly, the noodles, served chilled, were mild and a bit overpowered by sweetness. They were slick, and while pleasant enough, the flavor of this dish was slumbering, even with further additions of vinegar. Taste-wise, this was not unlike eating a slice of pizza or leftovers straight out of the refrigerator. But we soon discovered that texture was the most important dimension of this recipe, with the chewiness of the noodles followed by the snap of asian pear and the biggest surprise of all, when you first bit into it, the crunch of soft cartilage hiding in the meaty, clean white flesh of lightly marinated skate wing. There were a couple of small knuckles in there to eat through, but mostly the skeleton of the fish surrendered without a fight, with an initial resistance that quickly gives way to something in your mouth that feels headed to hard jelly.

Though nicely browned, the dumpling wrappers on the half-moon-shaped meat gun mandoo were a stage too dry. Haemul pajun, a light but filling scallion and seafood pancake cut into squares, is satisfying, although the different fish in the batter are indistinguishable. Kimchi alone showed that the kitchen is capable of turning up the heat, and the mustard was hot, although we didn’t use much of it when maybe we should have. Chili paste was not assertive enough.

I’m not sure anything we ate here was exemplary, but the menu is extensive and the food good enough that this restaurant invites further visits. From the quiet koi pools at the entrance, to a back wall of clattering plates, to the heavy ventilators suspended over the meat grilling tables that seemed to be the draw for most of the customers, the restaurant is on the decrepit and murky side. You would have to sit here a lot longer than we did to start working out many of the best, or worst, things it has to offer.

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It's been a long time since the last post. I ordered takeout from here last week. I had the spicy pork bbq and galbi (short ribs). They were average. The marinade on the pork wasn't as spicy or flavorful as I'd like. I liked the short ribs a little better, but the meat was a bit tough in parts.

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