Nak Won: Korean
So, my husband and I had seen this place in Annandale for some time and were somewhat drawn to it since nothing on the outside was written in English and it held the promise of potentially authentic Korean food. We kept forgetting this little nondescript place and finally decided to try it out when we had a guest in town.
Nak Won is a small restaurant in a tiny shopping center. Again, nondescript, right next to a Verizon Wireless store (and an optical store I think…can’t remember). Parking is obviously scarce, but besides the parking out front, there are a few spots in the back.
Overall, the menu seems to have a tasty number of dishes (and it’s in English). However, there is a special on there that is only Korean. I can only assume that it must be something good, but without a translator, I can’t really confirm. If someone can translate it, I would be grateful =).
Looking up the review on Yelp, we saw that the BBQ was apparently well liked. However, the BBQ does seem to be quite pricey compared to the feeding frenzy deal you can get from Oegadgib. Additionally, we were not that hungry, so we all decided to try some relatively straight forward dishes.
The banchan (sides) were pretty good:
- Kimchee: Standard Korean fare – good spice / sourness.
- Bean Sprouts: Wasn’t a fan of it. It had a bit too much of that fermented / spoilt taste.
- Seaweed: Standard.
- Spicy, pickled cucumber: Good flavor, not overly pickled / sour or spicy. I think I still prefer the version served in Viet Goel Lightouse.
- Shredded radish (?): This is like the Korean version of coleslaw but not quite packed with as much mayo. It was a bit on the warm side for me so I wasn’t fond of it.
- Sautéed Zuchini: Simple flavor but good.
Onto our order:
- Seafood Pancake: For those of you that haven’t had the pancake, it’s essentially a combination of egg / starch with different seafood (e.g., shrimp, squid, etc.), green veggies, and sometimes jalapenos / green peppers. Nak Won provides quite a large serving. We ended up taking a quarter of it home. It’s thick, starchy, satisfying with a good kick of spice when you bite into one of the embedded jalapeno chunks. The pancake has more veggies and barely any seafood, so that was disappointing. For the price of $14, we were hoping for some more seafood.
- Beef Short Ribs Soup: This was quite tasty and there were very large chunks of beef (a nice surprise and a great positive). The broth was satisfying but from a flavor standpoint, I may still prefer Yechon’s version.
- Seafood Soft Tofu Hotpot: Overall, good spice, light tasting, but not much seafood in it. It was more tofu with sparse seafood. I still prefer the versions served at Viet Goel Lightouse.
- Grilled Mackerel & Bean Paste Soup: This was a very flavorful dish. The fish is a lot more filling than I expected and you can taste the grilled flavor. The bean soup was salty (as expected) and has good chunks of onion, jalapenos, and tofu. Overall a good dish, but the dish is better at Ga Bo Ja.
So, overall, the food was good and the pricing is pretty average (i.e., somewhat pricey) compare to the other Korean eats. I’m not sure if we’ll become regular customers of this particular restaurant, but we may give it another go to try out the lunch specials and to sample the other dishes, such as the BBQ, in the future.
Check it out: http://www.yelp.com/biz/nak-won-restaurant-annandale
Food Quality: Flavorful and filling.
Service: The waitress was friendly but nothing above normal service. As with most Korean restaurants in Annandale, you probably do get better service if you’re Korean.
Overall Rating: Overall, food was good but I think that from what we tried, the only item that stood out was the Beef Short Ribs Soup. My rating could change if we come back to try out the much talked about BBQ.