“So.” A word so tiny, yet oh-so-powerful. It can be a point of emphasis or dismissal. It depends on the perspective of its user and the recipient.
When a couple of co-workers recommended Sō, a Korean BBQ establishment in Centreville, VA, I was excited to have a return visit to a genre of culinary delight I haven’t experienced since my Navy days in Japan just outside of Yamato city in Kanagawa Prefecture. Pulling up to Sō, a throng of eager visitors awaited entrance. The heavy steel door opened to an atmosphere bright with excitement. The aesthetic was a combination of subtle colors and dark furniture. A clean minimalism starring opposite the sizzling, succulent, spicy tastes that would light up our evening.
It is here that I turn over the telling of our foodie journey to my partner in gourmet adventures, Lolo:
You can thank my husband Eric for both this eloquent introduction and for providing the inspiration for this post. As you have already guessed, Korean BBQ is the topic at hand today. One of my favorite episodes of Buzzfeed’s “Worth It” featured Korean BBQ that the hosts tasted at three locations around Los Angeles. I was so impressed by the restaurants they showcased that I began planning my next vacation to LA. My sweetie Eric must have felt the same way this past Saturday, but I didn’t know until we arrived at the restaurant for the surprise reservations he made.
It was wonderful to find out that our dinner that night was at the Korean BBQ restaurant named Sō. Meaning that I wouldn’t have to travel to California after all.
Fortunately, with the help of the Worth It episodes, I had a good read on what to expect. And the theme for our evening was pork belly — oh my goodness! It was so delicious! Between the thinly sliced pork belly, the garlic-marinated pork belly, and the bulgogi (marinated, sliced rib-eye), I thought I was in protein heaven.
Jay, our attendant for the evening, was very informative and he brought out a great selection of juicy and vibrant cuts of meat. There were also dishes of salted sesame oil, plum sauce, and a spicy, sweet red pepper paste for dipping. Each bite coated my mouth with a mouthwatering rush of savory heat. The freshly-grilled meat was flavorful, and I could not stop myself from devouring more, even when my stomach was nearly at full capacity. Jay and the rest of the staff moved like a symphony, both cooking our fill while ensuring their other patrons enjoyed the full Sō experience. Ever arriving just in time, Jay expertly handled each portion of meat until it was fully cooked and then offered suggestions for combining sauces that heightened the overall taste.
I truly recommend if there is a Korean BBQ anywhere near you, you have to give it a try. If you already have an establishment in mind, come back and tell me about the dishes that you enjoyed most. As Jean Luc Picard would say, “Make it Sō.” I can tell you I did!