Cooking food over an open flame can impart smoky flavor and seal in savory juices, but cooking food over an eternal flame can get a bobsledding team kicked out of the Olympics. Get your fill of flame-cooked fare with today's Groupon: for $15 you'll receive $30 worth of Korean cuisine from Woo Lae Oak, located in Vienna. Woo Lae Oak proudly bears the legacy of the entrepreneurial Jang family, who founded this Korean barbecue eatery's still-operating sister restaurants in Seoul, South Korea, more than 60 years ago. The menu features a veritable cornucopia of appetite busters, such as saewoo, a barbecued platter of black tiger shrimp alongside sauce-soaked vegetables ($23). Smoke-free tableside grills allow for the quick searing of traditional Korean barbecue dishes, all without lengthy PSAs from Smoky the Bear. The daily lunch menu serves up a slew of affordable feasts, including the Korean staple, Dolsot Bibimbap, a steamed rice dish topped with vegetables, meat, and a fried egg ($9.95). Breakfast is served from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., and a full liquor and sushi bar purveys edible and drinkable goodies from all corners of the round world.
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.
- Woo Lae Oak also turns out some memorable appetizers, particularly the perfect, thin-skinned, pan-fried dumplings filled with a savory combination of minced beef, pork, cabbage and tofu. The same seasoned soy sauce for dipping dumplings comes with one of my all-time best bets, the flaky, egg-battered, pan-fried fish fillets. Boy, are they simple but satisfying. I was also impressed with the elegant, thin crepes - stuffed with shredded beef, shrimp and slivered vegetables - that arrive with a sweet, citrus-mustard sauce. – Walter Nicholls, Washington Post
- It's hard to resist beginning with delicate Tiparillo-shaped crepes wrapped around a combo of shredded beef, shrimp, and vegetables. More substantial are Korean-style scallion-and-seafood pancakes punched up with chili-and-scallion-flecked soy sauce. – Cynthia Hacinli, Washingtonian