Balo Kitchen

Balo Kitchen, web site, a food stand/restaurant in The Block, 4221 John Marr St., Annandale, VA, 703-942-5076 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Amazon | Washingtonian | TripAdvisor | Don Rockwell | NoVA Mag | Ylp]

I’ve been to The Block a bunch of times, and until now I have been reluctant to review it or any of the individual places in this food court. Each time I have felt I just don’t “get it.” And I guess I don’t.

On the bright side, The Block feels more like East Asia than anywhere else around, and it feels like the Asia of today, not the Asia or Korea of the 1980s that you get so often in Annandale. It is fun to be here, and the crowd is appropriately lively. On the down side, it is maybe the loudest place around, at least during busy hours. But that’s not my real gripe. What bugs me is that this is a place for people who think there should be mayonnaise on Asian food. If that’s you, go! I think many of the dishes here are well done, or at least “good enough,” but I also know they are not for me. I don’t like them, and when eating them I wish I was somewhere else in Annandale, because ultimately the food trumps all. So conditional on you liking this place, I am not the critic you should listen to. At the very least, you all should visit because I have seen the future and the future is The Block. Take that as you will.

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One Response to Balo Kitchen

  1. db says:

    My theory of The Block is that it is thoroughly Americanized pan-Asian food, but that it is made by and for the American born children of Asian immigrants. I love it, but its its own thing. Same trend seems also to be showing up Eden Center with the arrival of pan-Asian chain resturants like ViVi Bubble Tea that seem to have first generation Asian Americans as their primary target market. So yes, the future.

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