Woo Nam Jeong, Doraville GA

Marie and I took the baby over to Doraville on the Saturday before Christmas. Along the way to lunch, I pointed out White Windmill to her, telling her that’s the mean old place whose mean old hot tea hurted my poor little helpless tongue. Marie nodded and agreed that she’d have to try that tea sometime. Sometimes, dames just don’t listen.

Woo Nam Jeong has been on a shortlist of Korean places on Buford Highway that we have wanted to visit, based on lots of reports and recommendations. The report from ATL Food Snob – linked below – had us most interested. It was obvious that this was a place that we needed to try for their specialty, something called bibimbap. It’s a sizzling rice-and-proteins dish served up in a stone bowl, and accompanied by the traditional “banchan” dishes of sides.

Apparently, each Korean restaurant will have its own ideas about what to send to the table as banchan. This is only the third time that we’ve enjoyed a meal with several of these sides, and I think that I enjoyed these even more than what we were served at either Tofu Village or Hae Woon Dae. Here, our sides included some cucumber with excellent spicy sauce, and a wonderfully tasty little dish with slices of apples, radishes, and onions in a very light mayonnaise-based sauce.

Woo Nam Jeong opened in early 2009 under the aegis of an incredibly sweet lady who goes by the name “Grandma.” She came out to check on us, and make sure that our server had done an acceptable job mixing up our bibimbaps. Grandma doesn’t look like she wants to retire anytime this century; she is having too much fun at her job, although she did agree that she needed one day a week to relax and not cook, so the restaurant is closed on Wednesdays. When she is cooking, everything gets hands-on preparation in her deceptively small kitchen.

As for the bibimbaps, I thought they were just fine without being remarkable. I confess to a little confusion about what makes the dish’s fans so enthusiastic; it is, effectively, a big bowl of fried rice served in the style of Tex-Mex fajitas. After our server mixed our bowls up into a big, amorphous glob of food, we agreed that this was solid but not amazing. Frankly, I would have been just thrilled to have a giant bowl of those completely fantastic cucumbers. Since they nail the banchan so well and serve up a pretty good entree, this is certainly a restaurant worth visiting if you’re in the area and curious about Korean cooking.

Woo Nam Jeong - Stone Bowl House on Urbanspoon


Other blog posts about Woo Nam Jeong:

Chow Down Atlanta (Mar. 22 2010)
Amy on Food (Mar. 30 2010)
Blissful Glutton (Aug. 11 2010)
Food Near Snellville (Sep. 3 2010)
Eat. Drink. Repeat. (Mar. 2 2011)
ATL Food Snob (Apr. 12 2012)

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9 thoughts on “Woo Nam Jeong, Doraville GA

  1. Great post! But if you want to give bibimbap another try, come to Myung ga Won in Duluth. I like theirs a lot better.

  2. To be plain spoken, bibambap is a common dish, found in many Korean restaurants and is hardly the thing that gets Koreans excited about this eatery. This place offers foods not often found in Korean restaurants, and things that aren’t easy to cook.

    Read anything that Sean of “Take Thou Food” has said about the place, either on Urbanspoon or his blog. His review was so good that John Kessler mentioned it.

    Personally, I’m fond of some of their plates for two, particularly the seafood options, which not only are ridiculously good, you’re simply not going to find them anywhere else.

    They also have (or had) a tasting menu (Chloe’s 12 course meal), and that’s more what foodies have raved about.

    FnS.

    • Well, the 12-course meal was tempting, but not in our budget. Still waiting on that grant from Mobil to come through, y’see. I appreciate your thoughts, though! We’re still working our way out of our comfort zone where Korean and Vietnamese meals are concerned, and don’t really know what’s common and what’s quaint yet. We’ll get it in time.

      • Just my 0.02, but reviewing a sophisticated, higher end Korean restaurant for their bibambap is a bit like reviewing Commander’s Palace in New Orleans for their bacon and eggs. It really does miss the point.

        If you have questions on Korean cuisine, both Gene Lee and Sean are on Twitter and reply to tweets. Better to ask questions than remain without an answer.

        FnS.

      • On the other hand, if I were doing a little research before visiting Commander’s Palace and the most promising review raved about their bacon and eggs… that might be what I order! :-) We had the bibimbap because ATL Food Snob’s article spoke to us and seemed the most interesting post, in words and pictures. Similarly, when we visit Myung Ga Won, we’ll probably try the jae yook bokum based on your own report. (I’ve had it bookmarked for months.)

        But first, we’ll be visiting Cho Sun Ok with some new friends next week. If it all works out, I’ll write about that in February.

  3. Honestly, if the Stone Bowl House’s specialty isn’t Stone Bowl Bibimbap, I’d like to know what it is! That is what we always order and we think that it is the best in Atlanta!

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