Soowon Galbi in Centreville
As you pass the intersection of 28 and 29, you may see a sign proclaiming "Korean BBQ and Sushi." That would be Soowon Galbi, a pleasant upscale Korean place with a killer version of its namesake dish. We ordered the "Soowon's Supreme Jumbo Galbi," which is described as "specially treated high grade jumbo beef ribs seasoned in our chef's special sauce." They weren't kidding. Since we had a grill table, we got to see the unspeakably marbled short rib slabs before they'd been cooked into juicy rectangles. This was, hands down, the most highly marbled short rib I've ever seen. The galbi (aka kalbi) was served with marinated shredded scallion, a mildly spiced bean paste, and red-leaf lettuce, which we found easier to wrap around the morsels than the usual romaine.
We also had a haemul soondubu, which is a bubbling hot tofu stew with bits of mussel, squid, and clam in a fairly spicy broth. It was a perfect cold weather dish.
The banchan assortment was about 9 dishes (I forgot to count) and included both their very pleasant housemade kimchi and a sort of kimchi made with more of the redleaf lettuce. Our waitress kindly checked the kitchen and brought out an extra banchan for us after our daughter asked whether they had either black bean or baby anchovies. Their baby anchovies turned out to be a spicier version than usual, but the adults enjoyed them.
The waitstaff was very attentive. Our glasses of barley tea were constantly topped up and we were offered seconds on the banchan. We were also the only round-eyes in the place, but it was Super Bowl Sunday, so that may not have been typical. The interior is typical for a Korean BBQ place, lots of wood, but not quite as upscale as Hee Been or Yechon. The menu has reasonably accurate English translations. We'll be back.
Soowon Galbi is at 14102 Lee Highway, Centerville VA 20120, just west of the 28/29 intersection. The sign just says Korean BBQ, but it is next to a Trader Joe's. According to the carryout menu, they may do a sushi buffet at lunchtime.
No, prices were in-line with any other Korean BBQ place. We had a bill of $51 pre-tip for the kalbi (definitely one of their more expensive items at $21.95), the haemul soondubu, and an udon soup, order of eel sushi, and soda for my daughter, none of which I tasted and so did not mention above. Prices at Korean places can look a little high but you need to remember that they come with all the banchan.
I'd normally expect to pay between $18 and $25 for an order of kalbi, and this was unquestionably the most prime cut of kalbi I've seen in 20 years worth of visits to Korean restaurants.
Excellent food. Really one of the cleanest resturants I've ever eaten at. The ingredients used in the food seem to be of very high quality and I've never had a problem with service. I usually drive the extra ten minutes to eat there instead of Annandale (Korea town) for one reason, the sushi. I'd say overall your review is right on, but what's with the racial remarks? "Round eyes"? This could be offensive to some of your readers.
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