Taste of Korea - Chantilly, VA

The Sophisticated Eater is typically skeptical of any restaurant that begins with "Taste of...", anticipating over seasoned, semi-authentic fare. Today, Taste of Korea in suburban Chantilly, VA served up a meal that makes The SE question what other tasty meals have been missed due to this preconceived prejudice.

Taste of Korea occupies the end unit of a nondescript strip mall in the DC suburbs. Nothing about its exterior screamed "come in, we are delicious!". The SE was mildly swayed upon entering and being greeted by stained wood floors and funky, but modern, decor. Single edison light bulbs hung artistically from the ceiling, galvanized metal dining chairs sat neatly under sturdy wood tables, and traditional Korean artwork was hand painted onto the walls.

The SE sat down and glanced down at the menu to begin contemplating one of life's most difficult questions: meat, noodles, or soup? Lest the check get too high, which is easy to do with Korean fare, choosing only one of the three was necessary. The SE's eyes rested upon a picture of one of the chef's specials, "ddukbaegi bulgogi". Meat? Check. Noodles? Soup? Check and Check. Dancing excitedly, The SE ordered the special and ignored the fact that this would either be eater's paradise or a disjointed mess.

When the ddukbaegi bulgogi finally arrived at the table, The SE could immediately tell that yes, the gamble had paid off. A huge mound of bulgogi sat floating gloriously in a soup-y bed of clear glass noodles, adorned lovingly by a few slices of sautéed white onion. The fragrant smell of sweet meat permeated the immediate space around The SE's table, inducing more than a few envious stares from nearby eaters.

The SE slurped a small spoonful of broth and took a small bite of the beef bulgogi. The broth was perfectly balanced, sweet with a mild meat flavor. The bulgogi was tender and well seasoned. The clear glass noodles were slightly chewy and a delectable value add to the overall enjoyability of the dish. In a true show of culinary prowess, a side of white rice was also provided because, duh, soup dipping.

The SE sat back after several minutes of frenzied eating, not even bothering to do a stand up test. It was an obvious fail. Contentedly, The SE signaled for the check and made a mental note to add Taste of Korea to the ever-widening queue of restaurants to be revisited.

Pictures for visual eaters

   Handmade pork & kimchi mandu, also meet SE standards

 Taste of Korea is open Monday through Saturday 11:00am - 10:00pm and Sunday 11:00am - 9:00pm in Chantilly, VA. Bring an empty stomach.

Pinky's up, fellow SE's!

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