Cheap Eats 2015: Gom Ba Woo

Where we go for bipim bap served in a hot stone bowl.
Cheap Eats 2015: Gom Ba Woo
Photograph by Scott Suchman.

You won’t find tabletop grills or ambient K-pop as you will at other popular Koreatown eateries, but that’s part of the allure of this homey cafe filled with potted plants and wooden light fixtures. Gracious service matches the atmosphere, starting with the variety of panchan bestowed on tables and inevitably refilled due to terrific kimchee, spicy cucumbers, and other house-made pickles. The snacks are an early sign that the kitchen operates with finesse. Pan-fried dumplings and seafood-scallion pancake are ethereally crisp, while soondubu stew mixes a fiery gochujang-spiced broth with creamy tofu and sweet baby clams. Dolsot bibim bap is among the best we’ve found, the bounty of vegetables, marinated meat, a runny egg, and rice brought ceremoniously to the table and mixed in a hot stone bowl that caramelizes the grains.

Cuisine: Korean

Where you can get it: 7133-C Columbia Pike, Annandale;703-642-1577

Also good: Steamed mandu; bulgogi rib-eye lettuce wraps; jap chae (potato-noodle stir-fry with beef and vegetables).

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.