Lauded for both its cuisine and its atmosphere, Woo Lae Oak seats diners in spacious tables, booths, and portable pods, in which they can enjoy a distinctly Korean-American blend of abstract wall furnishings and traditional Korean artwork. The expansive bar, centered about a large fireplace with a modern tile hearth, features ample space for enjoying Soju and sushi. Please call ahead to confirm your reservation.
At Hot Spot, there are as many chefs as there are customers. That's because every customer gets to be the chef, and be in charge of creating and cooking their Asian-fusion hot pot. They start by picking out a type of steaming hot broth, which they will then use to cook their chosen meats, seafood, tofu, and vegetables. To pair with this, they can then create their own blend of dipping sauces from varieties such as the garlic, soy, and green onion sauces. Once meats and vegetables have cooked to a desired texture, clients can dip them in the sauces for added flavor. Each meal comes with as much as you can eat, which allows guests to invent many different dishes without building their own kitchen in the dining room.
Jireh Bakery Cafe specializes in traditional and Korean-style pastries, and the staff bakes more than a hundred of them fresh every day. They press custom paninis between freshly baked multigrain bread and dish them out with potato chips, which are what Mr. Potato Head uses during poker. The café offers a panoply of beverage options to accompany the food, from horchata and Korean tea to coffee drinks and bubble tea. Chilly treats of bingsoo ice balls combine shredded ice with fruits, syrups, and red-bean or green-tea ice cream. Jireh's bakers and cake artists even create custom cakes on request. The cozy dining room promotes a calm experience and sends out waves of free WiFi.
Korean specialties such as barbecue short ribs, kimchi, and—of course—tofu soup fill the menu at this casual restaurant with outposts in Annandale and Centreville. Among the chefs' crowning offerings are steaming bowls of bi bim bap that cradle bulgogi (Korean-style marinated beef) as well as heaps of bean sprouts, corn, and fried egg. Depending on personal tastes, the spice levels of each dish can be custom calibrated from ultra-mild “white” to three-alarm “spicy spicy.” But not all dishes served here come to the table piping hot, including the cool naegn myun soup, a refreshing summer dish loaded with buckwheat noodles, slices of beef, and hints of Noreaster.
At Palace Korean BBQ, diners watch as meats sizzle atop tableside barbecue pits, flanked by a colorful mélange of marinated vegetables, rice, and Korean condiments. In addition to Korean barbecue, kim-chi, and bi bim bop dishes, Palace’s expert chefs chop fresh ingredients and simmer them in teriyaki sauce or roll them into fresh sushi and sashimi. Their sharable Japanese shabu-shabu dishes also warm empty bellies.
Decorated with minimalistic earth tones, Asian masks, and dark wooden tables and chairs, the dining room fuses traditional and contemporary elements better than a supercomputer glued to a horse-drawn carriage. Throughout the eatery, bamboo stalks spring up from square pots, glowing in the same neon lights that illuminate the fully-stocked bar.