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.
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).