Du Kuh Bee

Beaverton is hardly a mecca of good dining. It's mostly chain restaurants where one walks in with low expectations that are inevitably met, or it's a solid mix of brew pubs. Once you attempt to branch out from there it's really hit and miss, even at the same restaurant. There are places Wifey and I have been that were very good the first time, but on a return trip we found ourselves asking what we even liked the first time.

So anytime we find a restaurant in Beaverton with promise, either via an official review or from word of mouth, we have to check it out. That's how we ended up at Du Kuh Bee, a Korean restaurant, for dinner last week. The Oregonian did a couple reviews of the place, one in 2009 and again just recently. The theme of both was the food was very good, get the noodles, and you will be very pleased. Du Kuh Bee doesn't have their own website, but the Yelp reviews were also solid (29 reviews, average of four stars). And hey, I enjoy a good Korean barbecue as much as the next guy, so why not?

Du Kuh Bee is a tiny little place. It's sandwiched between another Korean restaurant, Na Kwon, and a salon on First Avenue in Beaverton, one block off Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway. It's a long and narrow space, with about 20 feet deep of two person tables before it widens out to the open kitchen. There doesn't seem to be air conditioning because the front door and back window were open in the evening, but this did allow a nice breeze through the space.

The service was very polite and allowed us the time we needed to choose our meals respectfully. Neither Wifey or I really know much about Korean food - other than bulgogi and kim chee - so it took us until I believe the waiter's third return trip before we knew what we wanted.

All the reviews raved about the dumplings, so we ordered that as an appetizer. They are wraps - similar to a pot sticker or gyoza, but steamed - and stuffed with ground meat and seasoning. They were pretty good, but the dipping sauce didn't seem to affect the flavor at all - very weak.

This also came out with a small dish of kim chee and another of chopped pickled daikon (radish, for lack of a better translation). The daikon was a little sweet and the kim chee not overly hot, so they provided a nice balance with each other and did complement the other dishes well.

All of the reviews said the noodles were handmade, so we had to get a noodle dish. We chose what they called "u-dong", which I don't believe was actually on the menu but was in a picture pinned to the wall next to our table. If you are familiar with Japanese udon, this was very, very similar. It came in broth with thinly sliced fish cake, green onion, and a few other little tidbits of flavor. The broth itself was excellent - some udons I have had in the past have been salty - and the noodles were very good. Again, this was almost the same as udon, which, by the name of the dish, perhaps shouldn't have been surprising.

Our final dish was barbecued beef. I think what I was envisioning (some nice grilled strips of bulgogi marinated beef) and what came out (pan cooked mixed with vegetables) probably contributed to my overall interpretation of the dish, and not necessarily in a good way. The flavors of the dish were solid, but nothing in it jumped out and made me say, "Wow, that's a fantastic dish!" I think part of me just can't get over how something can be called barbecued when, in fact, it was not barbecued. That shouldn't be a negative on the dish itself, but more of a warning as to what you may be getting.

All in all the meal was solid. Fine. But nothing spectacular. I'd like to say we'd eat there again, but with so many other options - and Yuzu a few blocks away that is very good, as well as a couple other Japanese and Korean places that I either have been to and enjoyed or are on the list to try - we probably won't. At the end of the meal we were satisfied, but that's about it. Maybe we expected too much based on the reviews, or maybe the reviews are just relative, who knows.

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