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Bone-in chicken comes in various heat levels at Shaw’s new Doro Soul Food.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

The 15 Hottest New Restaurants Around D.C., December 2022

Where to find all sorts of fresh French fare, jerk crab cakes, beef shawarma, and more

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Bone-in chicken comes in various heat levels at Shaw’s new Doro Soul Food.
| Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Eater writers and editors always get the same question. Friends, family, acquaintances, and randos all want to know, “Where should I eat right now?” That’s where the Eater Heatmap enters the conversation, pointing diners toward the most intriguing or otherwise buzzworthy new restaurants in the D.C. area. This list considers restaurants that have been open for six months or less. For our map of the D.C. area’s 38 essential restaurants, go here.

New to the list: Huncho House, for an upscale surf-and-turf menu in Hyattsville from a former NFL player-turned-chef; Le Clou, for chic French fare in NoMa from a Michelin-rated chef; Yasmine, for Lebanese street foods in Union Market; Ellington Park Bistro, for an elegant European bistro in the West End; Doro Soul Food, for a spice-blasted carryout in Shaw; and L’Avant-Garde, for classy Parisian vibes in Georgetown.

Leaving the list: La Tejana, Ghostburger, Causa (now a Best New Restaurant in America), Virginia’s Daughter, Bar Spero, Grazie Nonna.

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Huncho House

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Billed as Prince George’s County’s first chef’s table, Huncho House brings Hyattsville upscale fusion fare like deviled eggs with bacon jam and fried shrimp, sushi specials, 16-layer oxtail lasagna, creamy crab and jalapeno fettuccine, prime steaks, and cream corn brulee. After retiring from the NFL in 2012, chef and Maryland native Tobias Dorzon studied at the Culinary School at the Art Institute of Washington and in Sicily, led the kitchen at a fancy Houston restaurant, and won several Food Network competitions along the way (he finished third in Guy Fieri’s Tournament of Champions this year). His new 46-seat showpiece with a 10-top bar is decadently dressed with white flowers, Hermès plates and wall decor, and Italian leather furniture.

Huncho House opened this fall in Hyattsville.
Huncho House

Colin McClimans and Danilo Simic, the culinary duo behind Logan Circle’s super-seasonal mainstay Nina May, just tacked on a Chevy Chase destination for fish, vegetables, and meats sourced from the American coastline. Situated in a converted row house, Opal puts a wood-fired oven to work to bake breads and roast all sorts of proteins. Menu highlights include ricotta dumplings with brown butter, squash, and Calabrian chiles; grilled red cabbage with hazelnuts and sweet and sour chili; and charred swordfish with a zesty citrus finish. A circular bar sending out smoked Sazeracs anchors an 80-seat dining room surrounded in stone and exposed beams.

Joy by Seven Reasons

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Venezuelan chef Enrique Limardo and co-owner Ezequiel Vázquez-Ger, the partners behind D.C.’s pricey Latin standout Seven Reasons, just added a casual, a la carte counterpart in Chevy Chase. The more affordable, family-friendly spinoff cracks open with refreshing ceviches, crudos, tequeños, a pile of head-on prawns punched up with guajillo chile, a “Colossal” ciabatta sandwich flanked with slow-braised short ribs, and bright ube soft serve. Eye candy is everywhere, between ceramic animal heads jutting out of a white brick wall, rainbow-hued ropes dangling over diners, and a leafy bar stocked with sake, pisco, and rum.

Ceviche limeño with passion fruit leche de tigre, red onion, sweet potato canchas, and micro-cilantro. 
Jen Chase/Jennifer Chase Photography

Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse

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Boston-based restaurateur Steve DiFillippo just made a Mid-Atlantic debut in Reston last month. The 13,000-square-foot restaurant with a plentiful raw bar specializes in homemade pastas, hot and cold seafood towers, tableside Caesar salads for two, braised beef short ribs, and a medley of dry-aged steaks. Starters like American Kobe beef meatballs and oven-baked crab cakes with whole grain mustard join mains like Georges Bank sea scallops, hand-rolled potato gnocchi, and tagliatelle Bolognese.

Filet mignon tartare at Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse.
Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse

Nama Ko

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In September, Boston-based celebrity chef Michael Schlow replaced his Latin standby Tico with a polished, sushi-centric destination for high-quality fish, creative hot and cold plates, sake, and private omakase experiences. Schlow tapped James Beard Award-winning restaurateur Stephen Starr’s star Morimoto chef in Philly to lead Nama Ko’s kitchen in D.C. Derek Watson’s opening menu includes hamachi sashimi dressed with ponzu, serrano chiles and cilantro, koji-aged pork chops, and honey miso black truffle ice cream with chocolate toffee from Schlow’s top pastry chef Alex Levin. A 12-seat sushi bar joins a reconfigured 80-seat dining room and 15-seat bar that’s big on sakes and Japanese whiskeys. //3877 put together the new look.

Smoked roe punches up a plate of roasted mushrooms over Japanese custard and soy caramel. 
Nama Ko

Doro Soul Food

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For his sophomore project in D.C., Eater DC’s 2021 Chef of the Year Elias Taddesse remixes American soul food with remixes American soul food with East African spices at a tiny new carryout counter near Howard University. The anticipated follow-up to the Ethiopian chef’s acclaimed burger bar Mélange swings open with fiery pieces of fried or char-grilled chicken, black cumin cornbread, doro wat-spiced macaroni and cheese, and turmeric-tinged coleslaw, mashed potatoes drizzled with timiz peppercorn gravy, and collard greens braised with smoked turkey and Ethiopian spices. Open for takeout and delivery at 11 a.m. daily.

Doro Soul Food stars pieces of bone-in fried and char-grilled chicken. 
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Yasmine

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Chefs Chris Morgan and Gerald Addison (Bammy’s) reunite with beverage director Said Haddad to recreate the post-shift street foods and drinks they used to make during their days at Michelin-rated Maydan. Their new Lebanese stall in Union Market debuted in late October with grilled lamb kebabs, thinly-shaved beef shawarma, shish taouk, falafel, cheeses, salads, spreads, and pita-wrapped sandwiches topped with herbs, vegetables, and flavorful sauces. Yasmīne, named after Haddad’s beloved grandmother, also centers around pours of arak (a popular Middle Eastern distilled spirit). Arak “service” comes with add-ons like carrots with lemon and sea salt; Medjoul dates salted and seasoned with orange zest; and herbed mixed olives. The full bar also offers wine and cocktails.

Yasmīne replaces Rappahannock Oyster Bar in Union Market.
Jen Chase/Jennifer Chase Photography

Chang Chang

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Peter Chang, the acclaimed Chinese chef behind a restaurant empire across Maryland, Virginia, and Connecticut, brought D.C. a long-awaited taste of his bold Sichuan cooking in October. The dual project in Dupont Circle is comprised of separate dine-in (“Chang In”) and carryout (“Chang Out”) operations, with little menu overlap for each. Cantonese-American chef and NiHao alum Simon Lam spearheads a modern menu featuring cumin lamb chops with chili-cucumber yogurt and Hainanese chicken presented as a roulade. Chang, a 2022 James Beard Award finalist for outstanding chef, puts his signature stamp a traditional Peking duck from his home province of Hubei, with only a few available each night. China’s beloved clear spirit baijiu plays a starring role behind the 12-seat bar. Acclaimed pastry chef Pichet Ong caters to both sides.

The 5,000-square-foot old home of Mai Thai got a refresh full of white textured walls, herringbone floors, and arched-ceiling booths. 
Suberr Chi/@dcfastcasual

Le Clou

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Michelin-starred chef Nicholas Stefanelli leans into his classically-trained French foundation with the debut of Le Clou. Situated off the lobby of The Morrow Washington DC, Curio Collection by Hilton, Stefanelli’s modern spin on a French brasserie seats 75 across a gilded dining room dotted with swirled marble tables and sleek leather booths. Open for dinner service to start, Le Clou offers abundant seafood towers, frisee salads, Hudson Valley foie gras, escargot, frog legs, steak frites, French onion soup, delicate trout, and black truffle-topped veal sweetbreads. Roving Champagne, cheese, and brandy carts work the dining room and adjacent Lobby Lounge. Le Clou’s chef de cuisine Nico Cezar previously worked with Stefanelli at Masseria and (now-closed) Bibiana.

A French fruit tart at Le Clou.
Le Clou

Ellington Park Bistro

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In November, the West End’s St. Gregory Hotel welcomed an elegant European bistro honoring D.C. music legend Duke Ellington, whose namesake park sits across the street. The 90-seat dining room opens with French onion soup, oven-roasted escargot swimming in absinthe butter, beef tartare mixed with caper berries and piccalilli, Maine lobster or bacon tartes, charcuterie and cheese boards, rotating crudo with grapefruit and shiso, and oil-cured tuna Niçoise salad. Veteran D.C. chef Frank Morales formerly cooked at downtown power spot Oval Room (now La Bise) and Alexandria’s modern American eatery Rustico.

Griddled Cornish game hen sits atop a bed of barley risotto and aged cheese with an onion-tarragon jus. 
Ellington Park Bistro

L'Avant-Garde

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Debuting at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7, the team behind Georgetown’s acclaimed cocktail bar L’Annexe adds a sophisticated French brasserie next door that pays homage to Parisian nightlife. Renowned French chef Gilles Epié — the youngest chef to receive a Michelin star at age 22 (in 1980 at Le Pavillon des Princes) — was most recently at the helm of the five-star Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu, Hawaii, and the former Montage Beverly Hills before that. His star-studded Rolodex of political and celebrity guests include U.S. Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton; French Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Nicolas Sarkozy; and Princess Diana, Bruce Springsteen, Sharon Stone, and Robert De Niro.

Irregardless

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The former H Street NE home of Le Grenier transformed into a modern American bistro with a love for Virginia wines and spirits in September. Mintwood Place alum Ben Browning sends out six-course seasonal tasting menus full of homemade pastas and breads, plus an a la carte menu available at the 12-seat bar. Mika and Ian Carlin, former attorneys who met while attending law school at the University of Virginia, serve as both resident sommeliers and co-managers. The two-story rowhouse got a midcentury modern redesign from HapstakDemetriou+ with pendant lighting, greenery, and banquettes.

Irregardless brings seasonal vegetables and local spirits to H Street NE.
Jen Chase/Jennifer Chase Photography

Seamore's Arlington

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The Montauk-obsessed seafood chain’s first outpost outside of New York City touched down in the overhauled Crossing Clarendon complex with a menu full of Chesapeake Bay oysters and fish. The 2,600-square-foot corner restaurant replaces a Baja Fresh with lots of nautical-chic touches and a big blackboard depicting daily catches. Lobster rolls, monkfish, scallops, steelhead trout, seared tuna, fisherman’s stew, and Virginia littleneck clams sauteed in DC Brau beer join chicken tinga tacos, kale and avocado salad, and churro ice cream sandwiches. Restaurateurs Jay Wainwright and Topher Bertone-Ledford tapped Truluck’s alum Laurence Cohen to spearhead the menu.

The “Reel Deal” entree option at Seamore’s lets diners pick a seafood and sauce.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Pendry Washington DC - The Wharf

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The luxury 131-room hotel on the Wharf just flicked on its anticipated collection of dining establishments, all led by executive chef and W alum Barry Koslow. That includes Latin-leaning Flora Flora, an indoor-outdoor restaurant overlooking a pool deck (open for breakfast and lunch to start, with dinner coming this month); Moonraker, a luxe rooftop lounge serving sushi and Japanese spirits; and Bar Pendry, a lobby-level cocktail den decked out in gold and navy decor. Looking for a quick bite nearby? Consider fast-casual import Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips.

Moonraker specializes in sushi and okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancakes).
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Puzukan Tan Korean Grill

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Brothers Sunghoon and Kibum Kim bring Falls Church a taste of their native Seoul with the October opening of their very own Korean BBQ restaurant. Puzukan Tan, which translates to “butcher shop” and “charcoal” in Korean, equips tabletop grills with both gas and charcoal for a smokier effect. Ready-to-cook meats like pork belly, brisket, and marinated short rib (galbi) join rotating wagyu specials and dry-aged ribeye. An offbeat omakase option ($59) features a big one-the-bone galbi, hash browns with kimchi mayo, and bulgogi “sushi” stretching a foot long. Wrap up the meal with bingsoo (Korean shaved ice).

Huncho House

Billed as Prince George’s County’s first chef’s table, Huncho House brings Hyattsville upscale fusion fare like deviled eggs with bacon jam and fried shrimp, sushi specials, 16-layer oxtail lasagna, creamy crab and jalapeno fettuccine, prime steaks, and cream corn brulee. After retiring from the NFL in 2012, chef and Maryland native Tobias Dorzon studied at the Culinary School at the Art Institute of Washington and in Sicily, led the kitchen at a fancy Houston restaurant, and won several Food Network competitions along the way (he finished third in Guy Fieri’s Tournament of Champions this year). His new 46-seat showpiece with a 10-top bar is decadently dressed with white flowers, Hermès plates and wall decor, and Italian leather furniture.

Huncho House opened this fall in Hyattsville.
Huncho House

Opal

Colin McClimans and Danilo Simic, the culinary duo behind Logan Circle’s super-seasonal mainstay Nina May, just tacked on a Chevy Chase destination for fish, vegetables, and meats sourced from the American coastline. Situated in a converted row house, Opal puts a wood-fired oven to work to bake breads and roast all sorts of proteins. Menu highlights include ricotta dumplings with brown butter, squash, and Calabrian chiles; grilled red cabbage with hazelnuts and sweet and sour chili; and charred swordfish with a zesty citrus finish. A circular bar sending out smoked Sazeracs anchors an 80-seat dining room surrounded in stone and exposed beams.

Joy by Seven Reasons

Venezuelan chef Enrique Limardo and co-owner Ezequiel Vázquez-Ger, the partners behind D.C.’s pricey Latin standout Seven Reasons, just added a casual, a la carte counterpart in Chevy Chase. The more affordable, family-friendly spinoff cracks open with refreshing ceviches, crudos, tequeños, a pile of head-on prawns punched up with guajillo chile, a “Colossal” ciabatta sandwich flanked with slow-braised short ribs, and bright ube soft serve. Eye candy is everywhere, between ceramic animal heads jutting out of a white brick wall, rainbow-hued ropes dangling over diners, and a leafy bar stocked with sake, pisco, and rum.

Ceviche limeño with passion fruit leche de tigre, red onion, sweet potato canchas, and micro-cilantro. 
Jen Chase/Jennifer Chase Photography

Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse

Boston-based restaurateur Steve DiFillippo just made a Mid-Atlantic debut in Reston last month. The 13,000-square-foot restaurant with a plentiful raw bar specializes in homemade pastas, hot and cold seafood towers, tableside Caesar salads for two, braised beef short ribs, and a medley of dry-aged steaks. Starters like American Kobe beef meatballs and oven-baked crab cakes with whole grain mustard join mains like Georges Bank sea scallops, hand-rolled potato gnocchi, and tagliatelle Bolognese.

Filet mignon tartare at Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse.
Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse

Nama Ko

In September, Boston-based celebrity chef Michael Schlow replaced his Latin standby Tico with a polished, sushi-centric destination for high-quality fish, creative hot and cold plates, sake, and private omakase experiences. Schlow tapped James Beard Award-winning restaurateur Stephen Starr’s star Morimoto chef in Philly to lead Nama Ko’s kitchen in D.C. Derek Watson’s opening menu includes hamachi sashimi dressed with ponzu, serrano chiles and cilantro, koji-aged pork chops, and honey miso black truffle ice cream with chocolate toffee from Schlow’s top pastry chef Alex Levin. A 12-seat sushi bar joins a reconfigured 80-seat dining room and 15-seat bar that’s big on sakes and Japanese whiskeys. //3877 put together the new look.

Smoked roe punches up a plate of roasted mushrooms over Japanese custard and soy caramel. 
Nama Ko

Doro Soul Food

For his sophomore project in D.C., Eater DC’s 2021 Chef of the Year Elias Taddesse remixes American soul food with remixes American soul food with East African spices at a tiny new carryout counter near Howard University. The anticipated follow-up to the Ethiopian chef’s acclaimed burger bar Mélange swings open with fiery pieces of fried or char-grilled chicken, black cumin cornbread, doro wat-spiced macaroni and cheese, and turmeric-tinged coleslaw, mashed potatoes drizzled with timiz peppercorn gravy, and collard greens braised with smoked turkey and Ethiopian spices. Open for takeout and delivery at 11 a.m. daily.

Doro Soul Food stars pieces of bone-in fried and char-grilled chicken. 
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Yasmine

Chefs Chris Morgan and Gerald Addison (Bammy’s) reunite with beverage director Said Haddad to recreate the post-shift street foods and drinks they used to make during their days at Michelin-rated Maydan. Their new Lebanese stall in Union Market debuted in late October with grilled lamb kebabs, thinly-shaved beef shawarma, shish taouk, falafel, cheeses, salads, spreads, and pita-wrapped sandwiches topped with herbs, vegetables, and flavorful sauces. Yasmīne, named after Haddad’s beloved grandmother, also centers around pours of arak (a popular Middle Eastern distilled spirit). Arak “service” comes with add-ons like carrots with lemon and sea salt; Medjoul dates salted and seasoned with orange zest; and herbed mixed olives. The full bar also offers wine and cocktails.

Yasmīne replaces Rappahannock Oyster Bar in Union Market.
Jen Chase/Jennifer Chase Photography

Chang Chang

Peter Chang, the acclaimed Chinese chef behind a restaurant empire across Maryland, Virginia, and Connecticut, brought D.C. a long-awaited taste of his bold Sichuan cooking in October. The dual project in Dupont Circle is comprised of separate dine-in (“Chang In”) and carryout (“Chang Out”) operations, with little menu overlap for each. Cantonese-American chef and NiHao alum Simon Lam spearheads a modern menu featuring cumin lamb chops with chili-cucumber yogurt and Hainanese chicken presented as a roulade. Chang, a 2022 James Beard Award finalist for outstanding chef, puts his signature stamp a traditional Peking duck from his home province of Hubei, with only a few available each night. China’s beloved clear spirit baijiu plays a starring role behind the 12-seat bar. Acclaimed pastry chef Pichet Ong caters to both sides.

The 5,000-square-foot old home of Mai Thai got a refresh full of white textured walls, herringbone floors, and arched-ceiling booths. 
Suberr Chi/@dcfastcasual

Le Clou

Michelin-starred chef Nicholas Stefanelli leans into his classically-trained French foundation with the debut of Le Clou. Situated off the lobby of The Morrow Washington DC, Curio Collection by Hilton, Stefanelli’s modern spin on a French brasserie seats 75 across a gilded dining room dotted with swirled marble tables and sleek leather booths. Open for dinner service to start, Le Clou offers abundant seafood towers, frisee salads, Hudson Valley foie gras, escargot, frog legs, steak frites, French onion soup, delicate trout, and black truffle-topped veal sweetbreads. Roving Champagne, cheese, and brandy carts work the dining room and adjacent Lobby Lounge. Le Clou’s chef de cuisine Nico Cezar previously worked with Stefanelli at Masseria and (now-closed) Bibiana.

A French fruit tart at Le Clou.
Le Clou

Ellington Park Bistro

In November, the West End’s St. Gregory Hotel welcomed an elegant European bistro honoring D.C. music legend Duke Ellington, whose namesake park sits across the street. The 90-seat dining room opens with French onion soup, oven-roasted escargot swimming in absinthe butter, beef tartare mixed with caper berries and piccalilli, Maine lobster or bacon tartes, charcuterie and cheese boards, rotating crudo with grapefruit and shiso, and oil-cured tuna Niçoise salad. Veteran D.C. chef Frank Morales formerly cooked at downtown power spot Oval Room (now La Bise) and Alexandria’s modern American eatery Rustico.

Griddled Cornish game hen sits atop a bed of barley risotto and aged cheese with an onion-tarragon jus. 
Ellington Park Bistro

L'Avant-Garde

Debuting at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7, the team behind Georgetown’s acclaimed cocktail bar L’Annexe adds a sophisticated French brasserie next door that pays homage to Parisian nightlife. Renowned French chef Gilles Epié — the youngest chef to receive a Michelin star at age 22 (in 1980 at Le Pavillon des Princes) — was most recently at the helm of the five-star Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu, Hawaii, and the former Montage Beverly Hills before that. His star-studded Rolodex of political and celebrity guests include U.S. Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton; French Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Nicolas Sarkozy; and Princess Diana, Bruce Springsteen, Sharon Stone, and Robert De Niro.

Irregardless

The former H Street NE home of Le Grenier transformed into a modern American bistro with a love for Virginia wines and spirits in September. Mintwood Place alum Ben Browning sends out six-course seasonal tasting menus full of homemade pastas and breads, plus an a la carte menu available at the 12-seat bar. Mika and Ian Carlin, former attorneys who met while attending law school at the University of Virginia, serve as both resident sommeliers and co-managers. The two-story rowhouse got a midcentury modern redesign from HapstakDemetriou+ with pendant lighting, greenery, and banquettes.

Irregardless brings seasonal vegetables and local spirits to H Street NE.
Jen Chase/Jennifer Chase Photography

Seamore's Arlington

The Montauk-obsessed seafood chain’s first outpost outside of New York City touched down in the overhauled Crossing Clarendon complex with a menu full of Chesapeake Bay oysters and fish. The 2,600-square-foot corner restaurant replaces a Baja Fresh with lots of nautical-chic touches and a big blackboard depicting daily catches. Lobster rolls, monkfish, scallops, steelhead trout, seared tuna, fisherman’s stew, and Virginia littleneck clams sauteed in DC Brau beer join chicken tinga tacos, kale and avocado salad, and churro ice cream sandwiches. Restaurateurs Jay Wainwright and Topher Bertone-Ledford tapped Truluck’s alum Laurence Cohen to spearhead the menu.

The “Reel Deal” entree option at Seamore’s lets diners pick a seafood and sauce.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Pendry Washington DC - The Wharf

The luxury 131-room hotel on the Wharf just flicked on its anticipated collection of dining establishments, all led by executive chef and W alum Barry Koslow. That includes Latin-leaning Flora Flora, an indoor-outdoor restaurant overlooking a pool deck (open for breakfast and lunch to start, with dinner coming this month); Moonraker, a luxe rooftop lounge serving sushi and Japanese spirits; and Bar Pendry, a lobby-level cocktail den decked out in gold and navy decor. Looking for a quick bite nearby? Consider fast-casual import Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips.

Moonraker specializes in sushi and okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancakes).
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Puzukan Tan Korean Grill

Brothers Sunghoon and Kibum Kim bring Falls Church a taste of their native Seoul with the October opening of their very own Korean BBQ restaurant. Puzukan Tan, which translates to “butcher shop” and “charcoal” in Korean, equips tabletop grills with both gas and charcoal for a smokier effect. Ready-to-cook meats like pork belly, brisket, and marinated short rib (galbi) join rotating wagyu specials and dry-aged ribeye. An offbeat omakase option ($59) features a big one-the-bone galbi, hash browns with kimchi mayo, and bulgogi “sushi” stretching a foot long. Wrap up the meal with bingsoo (Korean shaved ice).

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