Nakwon: Restaurant Guide 2014

4600 SW Watson Ave., Beaverton, 646-9382.

[DELICIOUS MEAT ZONE] Excellent Korean restaurants are scattered across downtown Beaverton like buckshot holes on a rural road sign. Within walking distance you have JCD, Hae Rim, Koreana, DJK, Du Kuh Bee and Waba Grill. Go here with confidence. The dining room is inviting despite four large TVs pumping out Korean pop videos, but what sets Nakwon apart is Tae Ok Lee, a 65-year-old matriarch who's presided over her octuplet of burners for over two decades. The magic she wields is apparent in stacks of steaming shaved bulgogi ($14), galbi short ribs still crackling on the plate, and an exceptional assortment of free banchan to keep your wait productive. The noodle dishes are uniformly delectable. Veterans arrive early, and newbies should be advised that listed hours aren't necessarily reliable. Once Lee is done cooking for the day, she's out. JORDAN GREEN.

Pro tip: The budae chigae, a dark red stew that includes chunks of Spam, became a popular dish during the Korean War, when leftover American rations were harvested and thrown into pots of soup. The dish's alternate name is Johnson Tang, named for Lyndon Baines, who was bigger than the Beatles in South Korea.

11 am-9 pm Monday-Thursday, 11 am-2:30 pm and 5-8:30 pm Friday-Saturday. $$.

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