For what may likely be my final piece as a suburban NoVA resident, I have a slightly more in-depth review of a local place. Cho’s Garden, located at 9940 Fairfax Boulevard, has managed to remain fairly consistent for me despite what wishy-washy things you might read on places like Foursquare and Yelp (read my article Help With Yelp: Regarding Reviews, and learn how to read past the garbage that often piles up in peer-reviewed sites).
I cannot speak for their all-you-can-eat lunch buffet, as I work during the day, and would also rather stay home and cook on my days off than go out for a lunch. A matter of simple frugality, you see.
As far as appearances go, it’s a stand-alone restaurant with actual gardens all about. They may be in some disrepair depending on time of year, but I spotted several components that might wander into the kitchen, and some oddball items like rambutan (that one was hard to miss, though I’ve no idea if they actually use it for anything). Bonus points to them for having such things to help set the mood and intrigue newcomers.
Now while Cho’s Garden does emphasize their Korean barbecue, the rest of the menu has proven to be quite tasty as well. Their staples aren’t picturesque, but things like Bibimbap aren’t really meant to be! You get the tastiest results when you mix it all up and chow down. Their mandu (korean dumplings, like shumai or gyouza) are crispy, crunchy, and likely to blister the inside of your mouth.
There was a hot and spicy seafood soup that set my sinuses afire, and burned gloriously all the way down. The ruby-red gloss of chili oil on top might well have been a bright red WARNING sign, but that’s exactly what I was after. The fish itself was left bone-in, so watching for bones to pick out in soups and seafood dishes is also a must. The mutton was deep, rich and flavorful as well, and the equivalent of their wonton soup danced lightly and fragrantly on the palate without being overbearing or taking away from the meal yet to come. Their Mapo Tofu is also excellent, if you’re in search of a vegetarian option.
I did mention a bit before that they’re mostly a Korean barbecue restaurant, and they’ve plenty of the requisite tables, inlaid with burners and the other equipment. Despite that, the ambience is lovely, and great for sit down dinners irrespective of what you want to dine on.
Cho’s Garden has served me fairly well in the past, and they remain in business despite what I’d consider fairly even competition from Cee Fine Thai Dining, which is just across the street. Have a look at my review of that place as well- it’ll be linked right underneath the last lines of this article.
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