Using market indicators has always been essential to making wise financial choices, and that doesn't change when making dining choices. The realization that we were the sole non-Koreans inside this unpretentious Korean restaurant, the broken English spoken by the waitress who greeted us and the comforting aroma emanating from tabletop grills were all sure signs that we were about to make a sound culinary investment.
The large, colorful photographs of menu items scattered about the place were tacky, albeit effective, ploys to kick-start the salivary glands ' after laying eyes on the glossy snapshot of bulgogi simmering on the grill, the desire to order the 'fire meatâ?� proved too tempting to pass up. But before the soy-, sugar- and garlic-marinated strips of sirloin were situated over the grill, we indulged in a bottle of Bohae Bokbunjaoo wine ($15), a potent black-raspberry potable that'll have you slurring like a tipsy totalitarian if you're not careful. The wine did, however, complement every mouthful of barbecued bulgogi ($16.95) seared with scallions and sesame seeds, as did the white rice, a necessary starch. Sampling from the seven side plates of panchan subtly, or not so subtly, altered the attributes of every bite ' kimchi (cabbage and radish) added a spicy-sour smack, while fish cakes and crispy anchovies added a bold dimension of flavor. Bean sprouts in sesame oil, potato salad with apples and thinly sliced radish rounded out the side dishes.
One particular section of the menu drew our interest, as no English translation was provided next to the items. From what we could surmise from the waitress, they were fish dishes, so after pointing to one with reckless abandon, we anxiously awaited for the 'fried fish,â?� which turned out to be a beautifully grilled mackerel ($14.95). The salty fillet was skillfully deboned and ultimately picked clean by my dining partner. I, on the other hand, focused on devouring the bibimbap ($13.95), served in a sizzling stone pot. Zucchini, bean sprouts and other assorted veggies were mixed with beef, rice and multiple squirts of fiery gochujang. A raw egg crowned the top of the delectable mélange, but of particular note was the toasted layer of rice at the bottom. The fragrant bowl of clear soft noodles ($9.95), or japchae, was animated with bulbs of garlic; while filling, it paled in comparison to other dishes we sampled. If you opt to take the noodles home, take heed: The pungent aroma will rapidly suffuse every square inch of your fridge.
My attempts to linguistically reciprocate with the two phrases I know in Korean ('helloâ?� and 'thank youâ?�) seemed to have a positive impact on the service we received, though in the midst of our dinner, our waitress was replaced by another server ' just as pleasant and eager to please as our initial waitress, but fluent in English. When the words 'red-bean ice creamâ?� ($3.90) spilled from her mouth, we excitedly ordered a scoop, along with a scoop of green-tea ice cream. While we fought for every last bit of the former, the latter was left to melt. My advice: Get two scoops of the red bean.
The space, it should be noted, isn't in a propitious locale ' previous tenants Pannoli and PJ's Asian Bistro struggled and couldn't quite muster the following needed to keep them going. Here's hoping once Beewon's secret is out, they'll be poised to reverse the curse.