On my way into the Hee Been Korean Restaurant I had planned only to order takeout and retreat back to my cozy hotel room across the street, but when I stepped inside something instantly changed my mind and I requested to be seated instead. I’m pretty sure it was the decorative and traditional style uniforms worn by the wait staff that took me by surprise and swept me into a small Korean world far from Korea. My waitress was pleasant, glowing and full of recommendations in very broken English. I started with an order of Korean raspberry wine and a bowl of miso soup.
I’ve had few experiences in the past with Korean food and always enjoyed what I had eaten, but could never remember the names of dishes. This being the case I decided in wasting no time trying to describe what I had placed on my palate in the past and went all out in attempting to order a new dish, but failed.
“May, I have an order of the Yook Hwe,” I asked.
“You’ve had before?” said my waitress.
“Um, no?” I replied.
Perhaps she didn’t take me for the adventurous foodie type who would have enjoyed the thinly sliced raw beef tenderloin with fresh pears, chopped garlic with sweet soy and sesame sauce. I placed my need to taste something extremely unique on the back burner and with her recommendation – the Bul-Go-Gi. She then asked if it would be okay to cook it in the kitchen instead of at the table, which I was quite alright with since I didn’t want to feel the heat or like I was in someone’s kitchen. Maybe another time, but for interested party go-ers the option is there. When my dish or many dishes arrived I was awe-struck and watering at the mouth at the same time. The Bul-Go-Gi is a thinly sliced boneless rib eye steak marinated in a special sauce and is accompanied by several other items like kimchi, radish, potatoes, sprouts, lettuce, vermicelli noodles, and rice of course. After finishing almost everything I wanted to pop, but before I could say my final goodbye’s and pay my bill, I was given a small serving of a sweet tea (the name of which I’ve sadly forgotten). It made for the perfect completion to the meal.
Not in the mood for Korean? Try the sushi from the sushi bar or look for other Japanese fare on the menu. Most dishes range from $11-$21 and the two person casserole dishes go from $32.95 up. The atmosphere is causal and perfect for families or a romantic evening out.
Hee Been Restaurant is located at 6231 Little River Tnpk., Alexandria, VA 22312. Ph. 703.941.3737. Web: www.heebeen.com