If you're into food and you haven't dined in Beaverton, you're missing out on some of the Pacific Northwest's most exciting Korean food. Eight of the top 10 Korean restaurants in the new Fearless Critic Portland Restaurant Guide (whose release we've just celebrated at Powell's) are in Beaverton. I can only scratch the surface of Beaverton's many treasures in a single blog entry, but here goes.
I am willing to make the unambiguous claim that Beaverton's Korean restaurants absolutely stand up to what you can find in America's foremost Korean communities — Northern Virginia, Flushing, New Jersey, Oakland, L.A., and so on. The problem here — which is the problem in those other communities — is finding the good restaurants, which often hide behind the blandest façades on the bleakest stretches of strip mall.
Sometimes you see a certain sort of sign for a certain sort of Korean grocery store, and you just get that feeling that a certain sort of secret restaurant lurks inside. When I saw the sign for the "Pal Do World Market," off a strip-center alleyway in Beaverton, I got that feeling. That tingly feeling. Sure enough, inside, after making my way past the meat counter and through the 17 different varieties of kimchi, I found a stairway in the back, which led to Spring Restaurant (p. 321 in the Fearless Critic book, 3975 SW 114th Ave.).
Hidden entrance to Spring Restaurant
Pictorial menu at Spring Restaurant
It turned out to be one of the best places in the Portland area for spicy Korean stews. Don't get Korean BBQ here — opt for DJK instead (see below) — but the deep, rich broths here are sensational. The menu is conveniently pictorial, which is a big boon for non-Korean speakers. Oh, and if you want to take pictures, try to be more subtle than I was. (The owner became convinced that I was spying for the competition. Imagine that: Robin Goldstein, Beaverton Korean grocery-store spy.) This humble little spot scored an 8.7 in the Fearless Critic.