Thursday, April 19, 2012

Honey Pig (Gooldaegee)

7220-C Columbia Pike
Annandale, VA  22003
703.256.5229
www.eathoneypig.com
Honey Pig (Gooldaegee) on Urbanspoon

I have this new app called Chef's Feed which shares recommendations of where to eat from local chefs.  So, if you're in DC, you set your location and you click the Feed Me Now link on the app and you're directed to recommendations for places near you.  I decided to try it since I was working late on this night and just wanted to grab a nice bite to eat on my way home (well, in the general direction of home).  So, I pressed the magic button and was directed to Honey Pig by Spike Mendelsohn of Top Chef fame.


I quickly found out that being pointed in the right direction and and finding a place are two entirely different things.  I thought that if I got to the right street, it would be pretty easy to find a Korean barbecue joint since there are probably very few Korean restaurants in the area.   Well, generally that would be true if the area wasn't Annandale.  Somehow, I never got the memo that Annandale was also known as Koreatown and every building seemed to be some sort of Korean restaurant.  I eventually found Honey Pig attached to some nondescript building with a Bank of America sign being the only visible piece of architecture that you can see from a distance.

Now, I've been to Korean Barbecue before.  I'm especially fond of Gahm Mi Oak in NYC's Koreatown.  They've always been straightforward affairs, plainly decorated and good, quality food.  Honey Pig provided the good food I was looking for but the atmosphere and attitude were as different as can be.  As you walk in, the first thing you notice is lots and lots of color and movement, mostly from the serving staff as they rush across the large dining space attending to what seems like all the tables at once.  The design and decor of the place can best be described as a cross between an industrial skateboard park and a warehouse with some blowers and tables.  There is a combination of dance and pop music (dinner to LMFAO is a new experience) blaring but you generally can't hear it because of the din of everything else.  Honey Pig is open 24 hours and I can't imagine how chaotic it must be in the late hours when people have their late night drunken cravings.

The app directed me to order the Spicy Pork Belly (I can't resist pork belly of any kind) and that's the only thing I ordered.  They do, however, offer a variety of your Korean barbecue staples from Bulgogi to Tripe to Short Ribs to plain pork bellly.   They start the meal off with a variety of small dishes that include a salad, some other various pickled greens and kimchi.  You can nibble on this as they bring out the raw pork belly and place it on a hot plate (there's one at every table).   They let the meat sizzle for a few minutes then drop in some cabbage and other veggies to cook with the pork.  The pork and veggies are appropriately slathered in a hot sauce that seems primarily sriracha.  As the meat was frying up, at least three different waitresses stop by to flip it, eventually snip it into smaller pieces with scissors and mix it all around on the hot plate. There was significant splatter from the cooking meat but they had convenient red aprons available for the protection of your clothing.  When it was finally ready to eat, they brought out a bowl of white rice and a vinegar based sauce and drop the first piece of pork belly into the sauce.  The pork belly was spicy as advertised along with being juicy and flavorful.  I would've liked the pork belly to be more a bit more tender but it that did not stop me from finishing all the pork belly.  It was exactly the nice, simple I was craving after a long day of work.

I would like to back to try the other varieties of but I'm still not sure what kind of place I had just eaten dinner.  It felt like a cross between a Korean barbecue joint and an underground rave.  I'm not saying it was unappealing, in fact, it was a ton of fun.  I'm just saying that I don't quite know what exactly I had just experienced.
 

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