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Bu Myung: A taste of Korea on Northern Boulevard

BU MYUNG

248-25 Northern Blvd.

Little Neck Plaza

631-3636

Bu Myung Korean restaurant opened about four months ago. Mr. Lee is the new owner, and his wife, Chang, from Seoul is the chef. They have given the restaurant a surprisingly spacious look. The dark ceiling hung with crystal-like chandeliers is attractive, as are the rice-paper screens that cover the window wall.

Most tables have built-in grills. There is a minimum order of two entrees for grilling at the table. (And the waiter and waitress do the grilling.) However, orders of one will be prepared in the kitchen and served grilled with banchan, lettuce, the house sauce, bean paste, green peppers and garlic. To eat it, take a leaf of lettuce, add meat, bean paste, rice and sauce. Then fold the lettuce taco-like.

The accompaniments are what distinguish Korean food from all others. Small dishes are placed on the table as soon as you are seated: kimchi (the fiery pickled cabbage); radishes (large, long white radish, sliced thickly and pickled - very good); soy bean sprouts; tiny, crisp, silvery eels with sesame seeds; seaweed; and would you believe it? - potato salad, with raisins! Intriguing! They are to be eaten with sticky rice and the entree. They are not customarily served as an appetizer.

So explained the message on the inside of the menu, but I took my chopsticks anyway and sampled the infinitesimal, crisp eels with my glass of light O.B. beer. O.B.? - Oriental Brew, wouldn't you know.

At luncheon and dinner at Bu Myung I tried new-to-me items which I recommend to first-timers. "Bibim bap" (Don't you love the name?) with four variations has a section, and the first one at that, all to itself on the menu. It is sticky rice served with ground meat in a sizzling hot stone bowl, topped with bean sprouts, spinach, slivered carrots and other mixed vegetables topped with a fried egg. Red chili paste is on the side. "This is the Korean version of fried rice," said our very personable waiter as he diligently tossed it all together with chop sticks. It was excellent and I particularly liked the crusty rice on the bottom. There is a squid version and octopus version, as well as a vegetarian variety.

As a dinner appetizer I had jap chae, stir fried clear noodles with vegetables. The glass-like noodles were very appealing. Other dishes that are sure to please are the dumplings, fried or steamed. There is also teriyaki for an entree that is not listed on the menu. Just ask.

At lunchtime, black lacquer lunch boxes are served, a tray that is subdivided. My companion had one, and I felt the array was particularly American-diner-friendly. It even included leaf lettuce with a touch of light dressing. Four boxes are offered, served with fried rice, dumpling, kimbap (Korean-style California roll) jap chae and miso soup: Kalbi box (marinated beef rib, in Korean barbecue sauce, bulaggi box (thin slices of marinated beef), pork bulgogi box (thin tender slices of marinated pork), chicken box (marinated boneless chicken breasts).

Dessert is a sweet orange half, cut so that it is easy to pull apart.

If you've not gone to Korea, Bu Myung is a good place to be initiated. There are items on the menu, including jumbo shrimp marinated in sweet and tangy teriyaki sauce, for grilling at the table. The accompaniments, kimchi and such are moderately spicy.

Children, too, seem to enjoy eating here. The waiter speaks excellent English and is tremendously informative. And there are hard candies on the way out to fill your sweet tooth.

So enjoy.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Good-sized Korean restaurant. Excellent Korean pancakes (seafood, green pepper or kimchi). Dumplings steamed or fried. Charcoal grill in table top. English-speaking waiters.

CHEF'S CHOICE

Jap Chae (stir fried clear noodles with a variety of mixed vegetables and beef)...$4.95/$10.95

Goon Mandu (steamed dumplings served with house specialty sauce-beef or vegetarian)...$9.95

Jin Mandu (fried dumplings served with house specialty sauce- -vegetarian or beef)...$9.95

Kalbi (grilled at table: Sliced short ribs marinated in special Korean sauce-soy sauce, sesame seeds, oil, garlic, ginger etc.)...$17.95

Bulgogi (marinated sliced tender beef grilled at table)...$16.95

Dweji (marinated sliced pork grilled at table)...$16.95

Dolsot Bibim Bap (bibim bap served in sizzling hot stone bowl)...$10.95

Haemul Pajun (seafood pancake with crab meat, shrimp, clams, mussels, squid and scallion served with house specialty sauce on side)...$4.95/$13.95

Food: Korean. Charcoal grill at table

Setting: paper-rice screens

Service: English speaking available

Reservations: Yes

Parking: Lot and garage

Location: Little Neck Plaza mall

Credit cards: All major

Dress: Casual

Takeout: Yes

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