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Wednesday April 23, 2014
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Unexpected Gift



Like an unexpected gift in a plainly wrapped package, the best part is the food, whose consistent high quality and moderate prices make it a very good value. The menu is not easy to navigate--some of the dishes are identified only in English, while for others both the Korean and English names are given (all of the dishes are also written in Korean script). It mixes familiar Korean classics with more unusual dishes.

The restaurant opened in 2001 and has been owned for the past three years by Geum Sub Jin and his wife, Yang Soon Jin. Both are from Korea, and Mrs. Jin went to culinary school there. They work side by side in the kitchen at BeWon, their first restaurant venture.

You know right from the start that they have something delicious in store for you by the quality of the banchan--the complimentary shared side dishes that grace every Korean table. Brought by the server at the beginning of the meal, the banchan changed on each of three visits but generally numbered from five to seven. Always there was whole-cabbage kimchi, the complex and very spicy dish of fermented napa cabbage. I love this mouth scorcher, said to have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Other banchan included wedges of egg-vegetable pancakes; grated daikon radish; potato and carrot in a honey syrup; a luminescent tangle of crunchy seaweed; slices of sushi wrapped tamago-style in a thin omelet; and a moderately spicy shredded squash concoction.

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