3975 SW 114th Ave., Beaverton. lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday.
Like a lot of the best things in life, Spring Restaurant doesn't advertise itself. People who live eight blocks aways might not even know it's there. The Korean restaurant is located in the upstairs of G-Mart Asian Grocery, on Canyon Road in Beaverton, and the sign that advertises it is tucked beneath an overhang. Once inside the store, you'll find a realm of linoleum and fluorescent lights. Pass the aisles of gochujang and the jars of kimchee, and make your way to an obscure back stairwell, that will lead you up to an upper deck that still looks kind of like the market, save for a poster with pictures of all their meal offerings, and TV playing Korean news.
The restaurant serves a range of Korean staples, including jjyol myun ($10.95) and kimchi soup ($9.95), as well as jap chae ($11.95) and bulgogi ($15.95). Jjyol Myun is a classic Northwest dish—well, Northwest South Korea, specifically Incheon, the country's third-largest metropolis. Served cold, it's a salady blend of wheat-flour noodles, celery, bean sprouts, a viscous red sauce and an egg. It's a refreshing counterpoint to kimchi stew, which comes as a bubbling, red swamp in a black stone bowl with spice caked on the side. Everyone and their brother may already have jumped on and off on the kimchi express, but rest assured that the stew smells like spicy, savory vegetables, and not the weird cupboard out of which your friend's roommate pulled a Mason jar full of wilted cabbage. It's also loaded with big chunks of tofu and chewy, fried pork, hearty enough to last for a couple meals. If in doubt, simply point to a dish on the photo menu that includes noodles, especially the thick udon variety—they're made in-house here, and the freshness is easy to taste even amid spicy broths filled with seafood or vegetables.
Of course, before every meal come the banchan, the kimchi and bean sprouts and other little sides. Spring's are not to be ignored, particularly the gamja jorim, potatoes that come as part of the ensemble that are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and glazed in a sweet and savory yellow sauce. They're a perfect analogue for Spring itself: off to the side and out of the way, but definitely worth it. JAMES HELMSWORTH.
DJK Korean BBQ & Shabu Shabu
12275 SW Canyon Road, Beaverton, 641-1734. Lunch and dinner daily.
[BAR & GRILL] This is a spot that does pretty much everything, and does it well. You're not fooling anyone when you say you want bibimbap. You're here to cook raw flesh on an in-table grill, so select your meats (pork belly, ribs, rib-eye, brisket, tongue, you name it), then wait for your waiter to roll out a gigantic platter of thinly sliced raw meats and delicious sauces and sides, including exquisite kimchee. Slightly pricier than other Korean spots in Beaverton, you could eat here for $10 or balloon to $20, but you would indeed balloon. For a midrange meal, try the Kkotdeungsim rib-eye ($24.95), which, with its sides, could easily feed two. Be gentle, because you will eat all of what you order. And you will be very, very happy until you realize you need to drive home before falling asleep. AP KRYZA.
Du Kuh Bee
12590 SW 1st St., Beaverton, 643-5388. Dinner Monday-Saturday.
[THE OTHER KOREAN PLACE] If you're not careful, you'll walk into the wrong restaurant while on your way to Du Kuh Bee. That's because it's right next door to another Korean place, Nak Won, and from the outside, it looks like they're connected. Du Kuh Bee—the original spot of Frank from Frank's Noodle House—is smaller and perhaps a little simpler. From a seat at the kitchen bar, you can smell the crackling pork fat, and see the chefs stretching out noodles by hand like a really simple game of cat's cradle. Tandem in the pork noodles ($12), these are a divine combination; the noodles chewy, the pork tender and juicy, joined by a refreshing and crunchy blend of cabbage and other vegetables. Order them spicy, and they'll be more than enough to make you remember which door to use. JAMES HELMSWORTH.
11729 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, 671-9725. Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday.
[SOUTHERN, KOREAN, COMFORT] After slurping a smoldering bowl of perfectly sour and spicy kimchi soup with rice cake, tofu, and thinly sliced pork (Kimchi JjiGae $8.95), Vietnamese pho's top spot as the king of Asian broth-based comfort is called into question. This is what I want to eat on a cold day in February. Well, that's not entirely true—everything at Hae Rim is. The restaurant's classics, deliciously tender bulgogi and various takes on traditional bi bim bop rice combos, are impressive in their freshness, flavor, and execution. In a gigantic strip-mall island in Beaverton, they have kind, remarkably fast and attentive staff who will cut out an odd number of sides for you, at your table, with scissors. PARKER HALL.
Six locations and seven regular cart stops including 3040 SE Division St., koifusionpdx.com. Lunch and dinner daily.
[MASHED TACOS] Bo Kwon's Koi Fusion was born of a moment that now feels so long ago. Back in the middle-aughts, Korean tacos were born in Los Angeles, where a savvy food truck owner used Twitter to spread the word of his roving culinary mash-up. In 2009, Kwon did pretty much the same thing here, making himself a Portland food celebrity and expanding into a mini-empire spreading from Hillsboro to PDX. The bulgogi tacos are still wonderful—all the heat, sweet and salt of beef jerky with none of the toothpicks—even if $2.50 each seems a little steep for a five-bite taco. The tofu tacos, on the other hand, taste like supermarket tofu in supermarket tortillas with a few shreds of cucumber and some bean sprouts on them. The Korean Reuben ($8, with no side) is a big, briny mess of vinegar and salt that doesn't really gel. MARTIN CIZMAR.