Bang Ga Nae in Landmark, Alexandria - Report
This new Korean place was profiled recently in Tyler Cowen's Ethnic Dining Guide, and I was intrigued by its specialty of roasted goat.
Aside from the goat, there are at least a dozen other dishes.
But I was there for the goat. It is $28 per person (or really per pound), minimum two. So it is not a cheap meal. But a portion for two is enough to feed at least four, so this can be reasonable if you have on hand four hungry people. Very hungry.
Aside from the opening salvo of banchan (eh), there are three stages to the meal. The first is goat meat cooked over a huge mound of scallions. The goat is shredded and tossed with the scallions tableside. The goat is rather plain tasting, not even much goat flavor. They give you a kicky dipping sauce and two kinds of leaves to make wraps. In addition to the dipping sauce, you can use the sweetish bean paste sauce that comes with the banchan.
The next two stages of the meal were the highlights. For the second stage, the last of the goat is taken to a separate pan to make a got soup. Very rich tasting. After that, the end of the goat soup is then taken to make goat fried rice. Hearty and a bit spicy. It is quite a production.
Overall I would say the goat needs to be better to begin with. Still, I am intrigued enough to return and try some of the other dishes.
Bang Ga Nae, 6499 Little River Turnpike, Alexandria, VA, 703-941-2722
We returned to Bang Ga Nae to try some more dishes and were very pleased with the results. We ordered haemul pajeon (seafood and scallion pancake), kalguksu (noodle soup with clams), and the dubu kimchi (tofu and kimchi).
I was very happy with the banchan this time, although it is not a big array. We had green beans with anchovy, omelet with liver, potato salad, and two kinds of kimchi: one cabbage and one radish. Nice stuff.
The seafood pancake was top notch. Loaded with seafood, crispy on the outside, and a bit gooey on the inside. The tofu kimchi was also a winner, with big chunks of a rough tofu and a sliced pork kimchi that was spicy. The only loser was the kalguksu. I'm not surprised since so few Asian restaurants here do noodles right. The broth was disappointing as well.