For many Loudoun County diners, the arrival of Korean barbecue restaurant Gogi 92 at Village at Leesburg in June meant a potential boon to their quality of life. The possibility of no more drives to Centreville or Annandale sounded as appetizing as the sizzling meat itself. But how does the restaurant compare to the experiences in NoVA’s K-Towns?
A dyed-in-the-wool barbecue fan will likely find Gogi 92 as uneven as the dressing on the salad, the first thing to arrive, with a puddle of sweet soy that never seemed to have touched the top of the lettuce. The five banchan that made it to my table were on the bland side: two versions of pickled radish, saucy kimchi, pickled onion, and some bean sprouts. I was concerned, especially when I saw that unlike many less expensive alternatives, corn cheese was not included in any of the combo meals.
However, steamed egg, covered in surimi, is part of the deal and is as dense with flavor as the topping promises. The soybean stew that’s also a component of the combo meals tastes of an excess of salt and little else. But this is Meaty Monday. And I’m happy to report that while the $9 corn cheese came to the table covered in unmelted mozzarella, the flesh had me forgetting such snafus.
I ordered the $65 small beef combo. At first bite, it’s clear that the quality of the prime brisket is indeed in tune with the relatively high price. The beef is robust in flavor and cooks to a melting tenderness. The bulgogi marinade is less sweet than many, but rich in garlic. Prime hanger steak is the most toothsome of the options, but stands out for its beefy intensity. But my favorite of the four meats was fatty cubes of beef rib, marinated enough to both tenderize and sweeten them.
For Loudoun locals in it purely for the meat, Gogi 92 is a welcome addition indeed. Just be aware that in other regards, it’s still finding its feet.
1603 Village Market Blvd. SE, H-112, Leesburg
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