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Jul 19, 2013 02:33 PM

Korean BBQ Restaurants in Annandale That Use Charcoal for the Table Grill?

I'm just back from 10 days vacation in Korea and one of the best meals was a steak place (on Seoul's Majang-Dong's Goji Alley), which grilled the steak at the table using real charcoal. I've only seen this once in the US (at 88 Garden Restaurant in Richmond, VA). Does anyone know if any of the Annandale Korean restaurants that use charcoal instead of gas for their tabletop grills?

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  1. I believe Cho's Garden uses charcoal but its on rt 50 and not in Annandale.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Worldwide Diner

      Great, thank you. I live right off Route 50, so that's actually much closer than Annandale. Have you eaten at Cho's Garden? It seems to get very mixed reviews on Yelp, though many of the reviews seem to be from people who've never had Korean food before.

      I see it has budae jjigae (army camp stew) on the menu, which is a plus. I don't remember seeing that "home-cooking" dish on a US menu before.

      Thanks again. I'll report back.

      1. re: Mississippi Snopes

        I've only stopped in for their lunch buffet, which is actually decent. I saw them bring out charcoal for Korean BBQ customers.

        1. re: Worldwide Diner

          Unfortunately, we ended up not particularly happy with Cho's Garden. They told us on the phone that they cooked with charcoal, but then brought out gas when we ordered the barbecue. They made little reason to explain why, but finally said you got charcoal only if you specifically ordered gal bi. The food was decent - lots of good banchan (as in 10-12 dishes of it) with a lot of variety (three kinds of kimchi, fermented black beans, little dried fish, etc.), an interesting budae jiggae, and decent barbecue. But the place was lifeless, almost empty on a Friday night, and the entire waitstaff seemed miserable and completely unwilling to engage in any way with the few customers they had. I rarely care about the service enough even to mention it in a review, but this was actually depressing.

          1. re: Mississippi Snopes

            From your photo it looks like you got to Hanu Chon. See photo.

            One of my favorite foods I had in Korea is duck bulgogi. It is served mostly at specialty duck restaurants. Just as goat is served only at goat places.

            Here, you rarely see it on a menu. They have it at Annangol, though I have not been yet. If you want to get a small group together, PM me.

            1. re: Steve

              Yes, it was Hanu Chon, one of the two larger barbecue places just off the main meat alley in the Majang meat market. It was a really good choice, not just because the food was great, but the staff seemed to really enjoy having us there and was very patient with my painfully bad attempts to communicate via a Korean-English dictionary ("Wang-si? Raw? Really?" - while pointing to the beef liver and the bible tripe. "Yes, yes, wang-si.")

              They gave us one of our favorite moments in Korea (if only in admiration for good marketing) -- the street barker who dragged us into the restaurant paid a visit to our table, bowed graciously, and presented a bottle of Coca-Cola, which he poured for both of us -- then presented us with a bill for the Coke, which he elaborately tore up and tossed in the trash. Lots of fun, and pretty much in keeping with the reception we got in most restaurants in Korea. (photo below)

              Unfortunately, we were only there ten days so we were only able to barely touch our toes into the overwhelming variety of food in Seoul. There was a place advertising duck bul gogi near our hotel (Insadong), but we never got around to that one. Didn't see any goat. It sounds like you're very knowledgeable, so I assume you're tried the excellent Bang Ga Nae for black goat in Alexandria?

              Having now been to Seoul, I realize that in at least one way Bang Ga Nae is more authentically Korean than most of the Annandale restaurants in that it focuses on its specialty dishes and doesn't try to cover the whole spectrum of Korean cuisine.

              Sure, I'd be up for trying duck bul gogi at Annangol, but unfortunately I'm going to have to defer it for a while just to get caught up from my time out of the office.

              1. re: Mississippi Snopes

                Yes, I 've been to Bang Ga Nae. I actually liked more their haemul pajeon and the dubu kimchee. The goat is an expensive meal if you're only two people. Enough food for four easily.

                It is now funny for me to see a Koeean restaurant menu here with its enormous 'kitchen sink' selection of so many different dishes that you'd never find at the same restaurant in Korea.

              1. re: Worldwide Diner

                Oh, no, thanks for the tip. They did have charcoal, they just wouldn't give it to me. You had no way of knowing that.

      2. I don't think Kogiya uses charcoal instead of gas, but I was really happy w/ my dinner there-good meat, good service...

        1. I know this may be a little bit of a drive but if you're near Baltimore stop in and try Jong Kak 18 W 20th St
          Baltimore, MD 21218.

          I know for a fact that they still use charcoal and they stay open till 4am.