First time to Yechon - Suggestions?
- MsDiPesto Oct 19, 2007 08:46 AM
Finally, I am going to check out some Korean food in Annandale! Specifically, Yechon. I live right near there, but with a partner who is food-phobic, haven't been able to get there. Tonight, a couple of friends from DC are coming out to try it with me.
So, suggestions? I know a lot of you have been whetting my appetite with past descriptions.
I had lunch there yesterday. The menu is fairly friendly, and doesn't wander from standard Korean fare (sticking with the Korean parts of the their menu). They have sushi, but why bother?
Only tables along the exterior walls have built-in barbecue grills, so the vast majority tables would not offer the possibility of at-table bulgogi, so if your party wants that you might have to wait until one of those tables becomes free.
In my lunch experience, some of the servers are a bit stingy with the panchan. But they will bring more if you request. Yesterday, when I requested more kimchi, the server brought out a new set of panchan, including items that we weren't given originally. By the way, their kimchi yesterday was among the best I've ever had (according to my standards). It wasn't quite as spicy as I normally like, but the other flavors and textures certainly made up for it.
The asians at nearby tables were ordering the soups in the clay pots. They looked very good and hearty. Look at what others are eating near you and ask the server if you need to.
THere are three items that are available only as cook at your table fromt he BBQ list that require you to order two orders and can be combined. They are tongue, pork belly and corned beef. They are fantastic! The rest of the BBQ uses a different grill top and so they too can be combined, but not with these three. Having said that, an order of pork belly and corned bef would be my rec! I like the mung bean pancake. The steamed or boiled Mandu are pretty awesome. I like the seafood pancake. BoSam (oysters, pork belly, pickled cabbage, garlic & peppers) are amazing and amazingly rich. COd & tofu soup looks great but I have never tried it. I think some of the regular soups ike Kim Chi Jigae and the spicy beef soup are just OK. The seafood hot pot is great if a lot of work.
The drawback to the soups is that they are harder to share than most other dishes. If you and your friends are all new to Korean, you're probably best off sharing everything.
The dosolt bibim bap are rice topped with various meats and vegetables (there are several different dishes offered) served in a blazing hot bowl that crisps the bottom of the rice. You add hot pepper paste at the table to your taste. They're fun and non-threatening.
Dean's dead-on in recommending the seafood pancake, which will be named something along the lines of hae mul pa jon. This is a big dish and is served sort of like a pizza. In fact, we saw pizza-style carryout boxes for pa jon in one Korean restaurant in Seoul this summer, though we didn't see any of the boxes actually in action. I've yet to have a bad version of pa jon, but Yechon's is definitely one of our favorites.
All of the BBQ items are also available in single orders, just not cooked at your table. They'll cook them in the kitchen for you. My personal favorite is kalbi, which is beef short rib; it has this bouncy texture when prepared Korean style that I find irresistable.
Japchae is a stirfried dish with vegetables, bits of beef, and transparent yam noodles; pretty much everyone likes it and it is non-incendiary. I'm a fan of ojingu bokum, which is a stir-fried squid dish, definitely on the hot side.
Well, my friends are used to Woo Lae Oak, I'm the neophyte. I'm very glad to hear that I can get the pork belly as a single order no matter where I sit. They have corned beef too?! I can see it's going to be hard making up my mind of what to have. Great suggestions, and I am very appreciative to benefit from the Chowhound community's knowledge.
The three items I mentioned can only be ordered cooked at your table. They are cooked ona special type of grill. The corned beef is wonderful, it is a fatty cut of meat and you eat it dipped in sesame oil, salt & pepper wrapped in lettuce leaf. I would try to get your friends to go for pork belly & corned beef cooked at the table (easily enough for 3 folk) and then add a soup or the seafood pancake. If you are really hungry,add in a Kalbi (shortribs cooked inthe kitchen).
Korean soups are traditionally served for one but they will bring out sharing bowls.
I thought you'd like to know that I and my friends had a blast Friday night at Yechon! We started with the dumplings, fried, and they were among the best I've ever had. They placed a small gas canister fired single burner grill on the table, (we were in the second row in from the front), and we had the Daeji Bul Goki, the Saeng Kalbi, and the Instand Ohjinguh Bokum Gui (big adventure for me, as my encounters with squid had been until then, very breaded and deep fried calimari. I'm not sure what to think yet, I may need to try it again. All in all, a wonderful time, my friends loved it too, and we'll be back! The input from you Chowhounds was valuable and appreciated!
Hey! I'm sorry that I missed your original post. I'm not an authority on Korean food, but I do love what I've had at Yechon. If you decide to go back, and you like spicy foods, I would highly recommend the Go Choo Jap Chae (clear noodles with beef & peppers - VERY spicy), and the Kimchi Sam Gyup Dal Duruchiki (kimchi with tofu and sliced pork).
So good. My mouth is watering right now.
But a word of warning. When I went to the restaurant on Saturday, without asking us first, the waiter had the kitchen tone down our dishes so that they weren't as spicy. The Jap Chae wasn't spicy at all. This was a tremendous bummer.
I took visitors to Yechon not long ago for my first visit. What's not good to eat at a good Korean restaurant!?
Everything was good. Particularly memorable was my order of tofu seafood stew. It was a bit pricey but worth every penny. The abundance of seafood used to make the stock reminds you of the French equivalents on Rick Stein's French Odyssey or what the gastro Franco-philes have been yapping about on a recent thread. :-)
Please report back on your experience!