Image: Pork Belly Ssam

Last Updated: February 2022

Current Status: With recently expanded their hours, it is now open Tuesday through Saturday.  The previously unused bar area also opened up for drinks and small bites first-come, first-served.

Overview:  Incheon sits behind a standard storefront in a relatively standard strip-mall in Annandale.  Other than that, there is nothing standard about this place.  It feels like a personal extension (almost physically so) of Chef/Co-Owner Justin Ahn.  Ahn made a career change from government work to restaurants and crossed paths with Alex McCoy of Lucky Buns, who helped with his pop-ups.  In mid-2021 he opened this permanent restaurant that serves a set menu of courses with two seatings a night.  Ahn uses Korean cuisine as a starting point but but builds out from there – adding ingredients and mixing techniques. Some dishes are playful and comforting, while others will open your eyes like an ethereal custard. The last of the savory dishes from our dinner, a crispy cod with Matsaman curry and persimmons, is the one that still lingers in memory a few months later – spicy, crispy, creamy – with the persimmon adding a rich sweetness. The dish almost fought itself before reconciling in a single, delicious bite.

Ahn just rolled over to a new menu for the start of 2022.  It appears to carry forward much of the same approach that garnered him rave reviews out of the box, though the breakfast-as-dinner-dish of short ribs with fried egg has been dropped.  It retains a take on Ssam, a NY Strip, and a rice dish done risotto-style. 

There are cocktails and a short wine list.  With the opening of the bar and the additional days of service, they probably added a couple extra staff to the minimal crew they had to start.  But even with minimal staff, once the dishes start coming the place finds a rhythm that seems to make it all work.  The bare-bones approach extends to the room itself with just a few decorative touches in the spare 45 seat dining area.  Despite that, this place feels special.

We don’t usually stretch beyond the District lines to recommend a place, but Incheon is worth the trip.


Cuisine: Korean
Neighborhood: Virginia
Address: 7118 Columbia Pike Annandale, VA 22003
Reservations: Tock

Other Critics/Voices:

Washington Post: High praise from Tom and in the Fall 2021 Dining Guide.

Washingtonian: No coverage yet – no thread yet

Northern Virginia Magazine: Three and half out of five.

District Fray – Nevin Martell included it on a year-end wrap up.

Kimberly Kong (of Nomtastic): Includes full set of pictures of the 2021 tasting menu.