One by one, we’re running through the 50 restaurants that made the cut on this year’s Young & Hungry Dining Guide. If you have visited the day’s featured restaurant, let us know what you think. If you’re planning to visit for the first time, tell us about your meal when you return.
Some friends and I are tucked into a corner table at Honey Pig Gooldaegee in Annandale, huddled around an inverted iron grill that’s sizzling away with marinated beef. We’re not exactly paying much attention to the bulgogi; we’re too busy stuffing our faces with the crispy seafood pancake and the assortment of banchan side dishes, from a lackluster salad to a fire-breathing kimchi, that hit the table before we even reviewed the menu. There are other distractions that sent our minds wandering, too: the corrugated walls and concrete floor, which remind us of Texas barbecue joints, and the large wall posters of grilled meats and sexy models, which remind us that Korean and American males probably aren’t so different. I should mention that we’re drinking Hite lagers, and it’s not even noon. Suddenly, almost out of nowhere, our waitress, an efficient if truculent sort, stops at our table and takes a pair of scissors to our grilling bulgogi. She’s scissoring the crap out of that meat. And just like that, she’s gone, and we’re left to wrap our beef slices in lettuce leaves, ssam style, along with rice and bean paste and whatever else on the table strikes our fancy. The combination makes for one spicy and succulent bite. I have to tell you, I don’t remember having this much fun at lunch in years.
Honey Pig Gooldaegee, 7220-C Columbia Pike, Annandale, Va., (703) 256-5229
Photo by tvol via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution LIcense