Woomi Garden

November 2005

This is one of the area's more user-friendly Korean dining rooms. It's got the aesthetics down with acres of glossy pale wood and a koi pond. And the menu deconstructs dishes and has photos.

A couple of Korean standards are winners: half-moon dumplings stuffed with beef and pork or shrimp and vegetables and the scallion-and-seafood-studded pancake known as haemul pajun. Meats to grill at the table include sweet-salty marinated pork, prime beef brisket, and boneless short ribs along with the more familiar bulgogi–slices of rib eye. And though panchan, the little dishes of condiments that accompany most entrées, are not as varied as at Woo Lae Oak in Northern Virginia, you can order a round of addictive spicy pickled radish cubes to make up for it. A seafood version of bibim bap, a casserole served in a heated stone bowl, makes for a fine counterpoint to the grilled items. There's also a menu of sushi and Japanese standards like tempura and teriyaki and an impressive boutique sake list. For an authentic Korean finish, try the sweet cool ginger drink with dried persimmons and floating pine nuts.

Woomi Garden, 2423 Hickerson Dr.; 301-933-0100. Atmosphere: A bit more upscale than the typical Wheaton restaurant but still family-friendly. Entrées: $6.95 to $34.95. Bottom line: One of the highlights of Wheaton's dining scene. Open daily for lunch and dinner.