To most American diners, “Korean barbecue” is synonymous with meats sizzling on a tabletop grill. But in Korea, says Chanmin Song, the definition of barbecue is rapidly expanding. Song is the manager at O’my ChiQ & Bar in Annandale, the first Northern Virginia restaurant to follow the Korean trend of wood-fired chicken and ribs.
When diners enter O’my ChiQ (pronounced “chee-cue”), they’re greeted by a wall-size rotisserie. “We bring the machine and everything from Korea,” says Song. “We wanted to make a Korean type of chicken.” Whole chickens and racks of ribs wrapped into rosettes around the rotisserie’s arms turn slowly, imbued with the taste of wood over the course of several hours.
The best way to take advantage is to order a bit of both. The signature spicy back ribs aren’t as piquant as they sound, but they are no less enticing despite their lack of heat. The delicately smoky pork adheres to the bone precisely until a diner’s teeth rip it with a touch of force.
The chicken? It’s available in a variety of preparations, including buried in creamy corn cheese. But we like it plain and served with a sampling of sauces. The sweetness of teriyaki enhances the kiss of fire, as does a creamy, spicy dip. A side of pickled radishes refreshes the palate between bites.
Although the concept is purely Korean, Song says that the diners who come to the expansive, freestanding restaurant, decorated with a tree theme, represent “a little bit of everybody.” Still, the team is devoted to serving products from Korea. That includes piles of crispy French fries dusted in seasonings from the homeland: everything from bulgogi to spicy cheese, and all just a little bit sweet. Diners can pair them with a beer-soju tower.
It’s perfectly reasonable to head to Annandale for galbi or bulgogi. But when chicken and pork are on the menu, O’my ChiQ is a gateway to a new variety of meaty Korean meal.
7023 Columbia Pk., Annandale, omychiq.com
Feature image by Rey Lopez
This story originally ran in our June issue. For more stories like this, subscribe to Northern Virginia Magazine.